January 8, 2021
Criminal Law 101:
A conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree that they are going to commit an illegal act, and one of them takes a substantial step toward the commission of the crime. Say, for instance, that two people agree that they are going to invade a public building illegally. If one of them then buys a mask to obscure his face, both of those people are guilty of conspiracy.
The “Felony Murder” rule provides that a person can be charged with murder if a killing occurs during the commission of a felony, even if the defendant did not cause the killing itself. Say, for instance, that it’s a felony to invade a public building, and during the course of such an invasion, a person is killed. Anyone who was involved in the invasion — or, for that matter, who was part of a conspiracy to invade the premises — could be charged with, and convicted of, felony murder. Some jurisdictions have abolished the Felony Murder rule. The District of Columbia has not.