People v. Phillips, 414 P.2d 553 (1966)

Case Name: People v. Phillips
Citation: 414 P.2d 553 (1966)

Facts: At the hospital, the parents of a child with cancer were told that surgery was the only effective treatment. However, the defendant who was a chiropractor convinced the parents that he could cure the child. The child died and the defendant was charged with felony murder. The defendant was charged with grand theft medical fraud and the state tacked on a murder charge through the felony-murder doctrine. Felony murder is strict liability.

Defendant’s argument: Felony-murder only applies to those felonies which are inherently dangerous to life. Inherently dangerous felonies do not include grand theft.

Holding: The defendant cannot be charged with felony-murder.

Reasoning: Neither common law nor the legislature has deemed grand theft as an inherently dangerous felony. If the defendant did not commit an inherently dangerous felony then he cannot be charged with felony-murder.

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