Wednesday, 11 April 2018

US Teen gets 30 years imprisonment for murder committed by a police officer

A teenager, Lakeith Smith, has been convicted of a murder committed by a US police officer based on accomplice liability laws.

Smith, when he was 15, in 2015, had gone on a robbery spree with 4 others in Milbrook Alabama, BBC reports.




The police were called to the scene of the robbery, and a shootout occurred, where a police officer shot at one of Lakeith’s friends, A’Donte Washington.

16-year-old Washington died from the gunshot which went to his neck.

While the policeman who pulled the trigger has been cleared of all charges, Alabama’s accomplice liability laws have found Lakeith guilty for the death.

Because of the law, Lakeith “is legally liable for the behaviour of another who commits a criminal offence if that person aids or abets the first person in committing the offence.”

Lakeith was sentenced 30 years for murder, 15 years for burglary, and 10 years each for two theft convictions, making it 65 years in total.

Lakeith’s lawyer, Jennifer Holton, was displeased by the sentencing, saying:
"The officer shot A’Donte, not Lakeith Smith. Lakeith was a 15-year-old child, scared to death. He did not participate in the act that caused the death of A’Donte. He never shot anybody."
Alabama's law is an example of so-called felony-murder laws and they are very common throughout the US - only seven states do not have some type of law that expands the definition of murder to include an unintentional killing in the course of committing a felony.

These laws also sweep up accomplices who, again, may not have directly caused harm, but were still a party in the felony that preceded the death.




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