In 2003, Adnan Khan committed a robbery in which one of his accomplices unexpectedly killed their victim. The prosecutors, judge and jury all agreed Khan did not plan or commit the murder. Yet he was still sentenced as if he had — and given a life sentence.
The reason is the felony murder rule, an arcane piece of legal doctrine that allows all accomplices to be held equally responsible for deaths that happen in the committing of a felony.
Researchers estimate as many as one in five people serving long life sentences did not actually kill anyone.
In this video Op-Ed, Khan argues that it is time for the felony murder rule to be changed in every state, as it was in California last year. One of the basic principles of a fair justice system is that you are punished for the crimes you commit, not those committed by other people.
Adnan Khan (@akhan1437) is a co-executive director of Re:Store Justice, a nonprofit organization he founded while incarcerated. He campaigned from prison for the felony murder rule to be amended in California and in January 2019 became the first person to be resentenced under the law he helped to change.
Re:store Justice works in partnership with incarcerated people, survivors of crime, district attorneys & the community to reform the criminal justice system.