Skip to comments.How Lending A Friend Your Car, Then Going to Bed Can Land You a Life Prison Sentence
Posted on 04/14/2014 12:19:11 AM PDT by PaulCruz2016
Several years ago I read a piece in The New York Times by Adam Liptak about Ryan Holle. Ryan, who had no prior record, is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole in Florida. He was convicted of pre-meditated murder, even though no one, including the prosecutor, disputes that Ryan was asleep in his bed at home at the time of the crime. This could only happen in America, because we are the only country that retains the Felony Murder Rule. What the Felony Murder Rule essentially says is if anyone has anything to do with a felony in which a murder takes place, such as a robbery, that person is as guilty as the person who has committed the murder. Every other country including England, India and Canada has gotten rid of it because of its unintended consequences. In America, Michigan, Kentucky and Hawaii no longer have the law. The Canadian Supreme Court ruled, when they discarded the Felony Murder Rule, that a person should be held responsible for his own actions not the actions of others.
Exactly what did Ryan Holle do? At a party in his apartment over ten years ago, he lent his car to his roommate and went to sleep. He had lent his car to his roommate many times before with no negative consequences. This time the roommate and others went to a house where they knew a woman was selling marijuana from a safe. They planned to get the marijuana, but in the course of their break-in a teenage girl was killed. Those at the scene all received appropriately harsh sentences, but so did Ryan Holle. I got involved with the case shortly after I read Adam Liptaks piece. I have been advocating on behalf of clemency for Ryan, who was first offered a plea deal of ten years but chose to go to trial. Im sure it was difficult for a young man, who had never been arrested, and who believed he had done nothing to accept that he should go to prison for ten years, so he went to trial, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. He is now in his eleventh year of incarceration. Again, this is a young man who was home asleep in bed at the time of the crime. I personally know of no other felony murder conviction where the person was not even present, and the pre-meditated part of the conviction suggests that Ryan knew his car was going to be used in the course of a murder, which to me, isnt credible. To the best of my knowledge, in the entire history of the criminal justice system in America, no one has ever been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for loaning a car and going to sleep.
A few years ago I was on a television show with the father of the girl who was murdered in the robbery attempt. The father felt that it was entirely justified that Ryan Holle spend his life in prison. At the time, I couldnt bring myself to say what I was feeling. I felt the father and mother were a lot more responsible for their daughters death than Ryan Holle. The mother did actually serve three years in prison for selling drugs, but both parents in no way should have been involved in selling drugs from their house. It would only be a question of time before the wrong person knocked on the door. In my judgment, parents who would do that with two teenage daughters at home have a lot more responsibility for this tragedy than Ryan Holle.
Ryan writes me from prison telling me that when he gets out, he plans to speak out against the Felony Murder Rule. Unless people of good will and common sense publicize his case, Ryan Holle will die in prison.
I’d probably be more concerned about red light tickets than anything else, by lending my car.
OK, what’s getting soft pedaled here. That often tells the story in tear jerker accounts like this.
This wasn’t like it was a jaywalking ring. It was engaged in a kind of crime known for settling scores with bullets.
Now this is independent of whether drugs need to be banned. Maybe they needn’t. But while they are, something like this is foreseeable and if you aid and abet it shouldn’t there be some sort of repercussions.
I see a lot of unwanted prison sentences handed down in the US.. Is this a result of the Prison “Industry” that wants to keep its “houses” filled to the brim? Quotes intentional..
He had lent the car many times before. why would he think something along the lines of what occurred would happen? Life? Aiding and abetting?
I’ve read a bit about this one. The question seems to center around whether or not Holle had knowledge of his room mate’s intent. The prosecution said he knew what was going down, and loaned the room mate the car anyway. Holle’s attorney claimed Holle had no idea a crime was going to be committed. On wikipedia, it says Holle appeared to have been told by his roomie what he planned to do, but also that he thought the room mate was just joking around. So, take from that what you will.
Must be more to the story.
After watching the daytime court shows I have learned never be a bank to friends and family; never let friends and family borrow a car; or give//sell them a car without taking your name off the title. Also if you shack up and put money into a house when you seperate a civil court judge may not give you a dime if you break up.
If he’d had no idea that it was going to be used to commit crimes he could have skated.
But he did, and hence comes the responsibility.
Maybe repercussions shouldn’t be this drastic, but there should be some.
In a 2007 interview with The New York Times, Holle stated that “I honestly thought they were going to get food,” adding that “When they actually mentioned what was going on, I thought it was a joke.” He explained that he was naive, and had been drinking all night, so he “didn’t understand what was going on.”
Surprised no one got the Jury nullification going on his trial. I’d have never voted guilty as a juror on that...
Yeah right! I always think my friends are joking when they ask to borrow my car to go steal some drugs.
it was to buy pot. It’s not even illegal in every state any longer. Why would he suddenly think theres going to be violence involved? That transaction goes on thousands of times a day across the nation. Whatever sentence he had due is long since past.
Read the whole story, Google his name.
It turns out they told him they were going to rob a house (the stories say burglary, but they knew people were home, that makes it a home invasion robbery). They knew they were going to "knock out" an 18 year old girl who they actually killed instead of "knocking her out." Bottom line is they told him they were going to do a violent home invasion with plans to commit great bodily harm on someone in the home.
I say guilty. Maybe, maybe the sentence is too long, but maybe not.
You say to me: "I am going to go knock someone out and steal a safe from her home, can I borrow your car?" I am going to tell you you may not use my car. Now, if he had said that and they had taken his keys and still used the car, he is clean, they stole the car while he slept.
The only real case I think he has is something like "ineffective counsel". He should have been warned that 10 years was not a bad deal at all, life was in the cards if he fought it. Especially if the dead girl was pretty and did not have a troubled background.
I always get nervous when I read that a jury put a person away in jail for a long (or very long) time based on a TOTALLY UNFAIR decision.
There is a LOT MORE that I’d want to know about this case before concluding this law should be scrapped and I’m only hearing ONE SIDE here.
That appears to be the case here. I'd like to hear the prosecutors side. And since this is an article from some scribbler writing for The Nation, maybe the most leftist media source in the country with a great desire to dismantle the justice system and free most prison inmates, I take it with a large grain of salt.
Oh good grief, it’s Charles Grodin. Grodin is a big lib who has already made known his dislike of cp and our justice system. Now I’m even more sure there’s another side to this story.
If you are hanging out with “room mates” that cannot even afford to own a car, you are with the wrong people.
When I first read that, I started to reply, "Why be concerned about that? They don't ticket cars." but as a matter of fact, yes, they do.
Yep, it would be interesting to hear what the jurors say, what this person’s background is, who was with him when he borrowed the car, etc.
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