Thursday, August 11, 2005


The so-called Bonnie and Clyde from the TN prison escape were apprehended today in Ohio. I wonder if in the coming months an interesting problem will arise when the two are sentenced (in separate trials, one would think). Seemingly, prosecutors are dealing with two cases of equal mens rea.

But in Convict Wyatte's case, he had a prior record. However, his charge will be for felony murder, conspiracy (planning the whole thing), etc. She actually pulled the trigger, killing a prison guard.

I think their mens rea is equally guilty. But it should pose an interesting dilemma, if prosecutors seek the death penalty for one or both. Who is deserving of death in this case? The woman with no prior record who pulled the trigger? Or the violent criminal who presumably planned it?

To prove the charge of felony murder, it is true that prosecutors do *not* have to prove mens rea for the murder, just the underlying felonious act. However, I wonder how much of a role mens rea will play in sentencing. [Well outside this author's expertise]