Professor Jason Cieslik recently presented at the 40th American Association for Paralegal Education (AAfPE) National Conference during the Scholarship and Research session. Cieslik presented his topic for publication: A New Approach to Felony-Murder in Illinois.
As part of a massive criminal justice reform bill, Illinois amended the Illinois felony-murder statute. In response to public criticism and the “Lake County 5” case, Illinois attempted to change how felony-murder is applied. Rather than continue with the current application of the “proximate cause” theory, Illinois attempted to create a statute that focused on the “agency” theory.
Cieslik argues that the amended statute does not explicitly create an “agency” theory, and it’s very possible that the courts continue to apply the “proximate cause” theory to felony-murder. Furthermore, the “proximate cause” theory is the only theory that accounts for death in these circumstances. The General Assembly could have addressed concerns with the felony-murder rule through alternative sentencing measures, rather than attempting to abolish the “proximate cause” approach.
Cieslik is an assistant professor and academic advisor of legal studies in the Department of Politics and Government.