People v. Fuller Case Brief

Summary of People v. Fuller (Felony Murder Rule)
California Court of Appeal, 5th district 1978

Procedure: D Fuller appeals the California felony murder rule under which he was convicted of felony murder stemming from a high-speed pursuit following a car dealership tire heist. (D = Defendant)

Facts: A police officer noticed a late model Plymouth sedan parked outside a car dealership in Fresno California on a Sunday morning with two men including the D rolling tires and placing them in the trunk of the car. The D and his accomplice speed away from the dealership at a high rate of speed and the police officer gave chase. The D blew through a stop sign and killed another driver.

Issue: Whether this D who committed a nonviolent daytime burglary is accountable under California’s Felony murder rule?

Holding: The trial court erred in allowing this rule to be evoked because such a harsh result destroys the symmetry of the law by equating an accidental killing resulting from a petty theft to that of premeditated murder.

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