Asked in Criminal Law for Arkansas

Q: So, my boyfriend is being charged with capital murder. Can I ask a question?

His brother went to steal drugs from some drug dealer's house. He Went with him, but stayed by the car. Didn't go inside or around back at all. His brother was shot and killed my the owner of the house. Now, he is facing a capital murder charge. How is that even allowed?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Lane Hughes
Richard Lane Hughes
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: This is called vicarious responsibility. Not a favorite of the law. However, legislators who make our laws want to be seen as tough on crime. The notion is that a person in the position of your boyfriend is responsible for the conduct of of all actors engaged in a criminal undertaking. It sounds as if your boyfriend was engaged in a home burglary. The fact that the "victim" is a drug dealer does not negate the fact that a burglary was planned and your boyfriend was a part of that undertaking. At least he aided and abetted the deceased in the criminal venture.

A jury might not be receptive of this legal fiction so prosecutors will often offer a reduced charge to a person in the position of your boyfriend.

Boyfriend needs an experienced criminal defense attorney. If he cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint a lawyer to represent him.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.