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Suspects younger than 25 will never be convicted of felony murder in Maryland, if state Dems have their way
Composite screenshot of WBFF-TV YouTube video and Maryland state website

Suspects younger than 25 will never be convicted of felony murder in Maryland, if state Dems have their way

Democrats in Maryland have introduced a bill trying to prevent anyone under the age of 25 from being convicted of felony murder, a move that many believe will benefit gangs and criminals and make dangerous cities like Baltimore even less safe than they already are.

Earlier this year, Democrat Charlotte Crutchfield, one of three delegates representing District 19, introduced House Bill 1180, otherwise known as the Youth Accountability and Safety Act. H.B. 1180 would prohibit "a person younger than age 25 at the time of the offense from being convicted of murder in the first degree under the State's felony murder provisions, which classify a murder as being in the first degree if it was committed during the perpetration or attempted perpetration of specified crimes."

In other words, felony murder occurs when a person dies during the commission of another felony, such as robbery. Crutchfield and fellow co-sponsors J. Sandy Bartlett, Debra M. Davis, Aletheia McCaskill, David Moon, N. Scott Phillips, Karen Simpson, Nicole A. Williams, and Caylin A. Young — all Democrats — claim that the frontal lobes of the brain are not fully formed until a person reaches at least 25 years old and that those who commit heinous crimes like felony murder may not have intended to do so.

"If minors cannot consent to sex or sign contracts, why are we treating them as adults in the judicial system?" Del. Christopher Bouchat, the only Republican to support the bill thus far, asked rhetorically.

However, many of Bouchat's fellow Republicans are incensed by the bill. Del. Lauren Arikan stated emphatically that she would "never support removing felony murder for those under 25," citing a Maryland police officer who was murdered in the line of duty by a 16-year-old juvenile who was ultimately tried as an adult and convicted. Dawnta Harris, now either 20 or 21, received a life sentence with the possibility of parole for the crime.

Del. Susan McComas (R) likewise dismissed the Democrats' reasoning behind H.B. 1180. "Proponents of the bill say that the human brain is not fully formed in the frontal lobes until age 25. But yet, we’re doing other things in the General Assembly, letting children vote earlier and earlier, letting them get hormone-inducing drugs to change their sex," McComas said.

McComas also noted that the bill, should it pass, is likely to benefit gangs and other criminal enterprises the most. "If this bill passes, you’re going to have kingpins, you’re going to have gangs use juveniles to do their dirty work," she said.

Though the bill faces steep opposition, it is not Crutchfield's first attempt at enacting such criminal justice experiments into law. In 2021, she introduced similar legislation which would have prevented "children" from being charged with first-degree murder. That bill never garnered much support.

Nor is Crutchfield the only state advocate for lax criminal justice laws for young offenders. Maryland Secretary of Juvenile Services Vincent Schiraldi has argued that no one should ever be tried in the adult criminal justice system unless until at least 21 years of age.

H.B. 1180 continues to be debated in the state House. It is unclear when it will come up for a vote.

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →