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.
Hey Ryan can we borrow your car for a home invasion?
Sure go right ahead.
Sounds like we’re getting to the rut of this issue. A good lesson for EVERYONE, don’t drop your guard for heart-wrenching stories - make them PROVE IT. The libs know that, which is why they attack every “I lost my health insurance” case.
Do not let those people CONTROL your thoughts - fight back, be suspicious. If a jury put this guy away, trust the jury first - not a left-wing reporter - always.
You can see the bias of the author in this statement. The girl didn't happen to get hit by a falling meteorite. She was killed by the perpetrators. They obviously had some sort of killing devices with them, and intended to use them, if necessary. Holle knew, or should have known, this could happen. There is another side to this story that isn't being told.
This says a lot about operation Fast and Furious. Holder, the Mahdi, and their accomplices damn well knew the weapons that were to be walked would be walked straight to the drug cartels where those weapons would e used for murder and mayhem. There’s a big difference between loaning somebody a car to go on a date and loaning him the same car to commit a felony, just as there’s a huge difference between loaning a gun for hunting or target shooting and loaning one for a felony. In the one case the lender’s probably doing something legal; in the other it’s a felony because of the lender’s guilty knowledge. The guilty knowledge of the Mahdi, Holder, and their accomplices makes them as guilty of the murders perpetrated with the F&F weapons as if they had personally pulled the triggers.
"Ryan writes me from prison telling me that when he gets out, he plans to speak out against the Felony Murder Rule"
I imagine he would. And , for your enlightenment, it is a law, not a rule. There is a difference.
"Ryan Holle will die in prison."
We can hope.
I very much agree that the driver of a getaway car is just as guilty as the bank robbers, assuming he was knowingly and willingly there at the crime scene.
(It’s not all that uncommon for criminals to conscript an acquaintance or even a random person to be the driver and use his/her vehicle in the crime.)
This case is quite insane, from what the car owner supposedly had been told. From what I’ve read, he wasn’t in on the planning and certainly wasn’t there for the execution of the crime.
This would be akin to holding a landlord responsible for the crimes of his tenants. Crimes the landlord knew nothing about. Even if someone alleged that something was going on at one of his properties the landlord still should not automatically be at fault. That would be ridiculous, just like this case of the sleeping (drunk) car owner.
While I agree that it is an unjust law, and needs to be repealed, I’d need to know more than one side of this story. However, I do agree that for these parents to be “selling” from their own house, they bear as much guilt for the death of their daughter as the one who pulled the trigger. This was illegal activity. PERIOD!
Yea, he definitely should have taken the 10 given those details.
Personally I think the judiciary should have some leeway in giving people, particularly young ones with clean or minor records going into something like this, some type of penal battalion type sentence with rigid discipline and physical service as an alternative to a life ending sentences.
If you’re going to give an 18 year old a life sentence without parole all that tells me is that society is just to candy assed to kill them. Hell, it would be a mercy to the perp, and it eliminates the whole expense/incarceration structure for people who essentially have nothing to lose from that point forward with respect to escape or jailhouse mayhem.
I sat on a Jury for 2 defendants for 5 counts of attempted murder with great bodily injury and gang, handgun and street terrorism enhancements. The verdict was split between the 2, with one being convicted (and getting all 3 strikes in that one trial) and sentenced to minimum 25 to life and the other guy walking. It’s long in the details, but the convicted guy had a clean record and had ended up being leaned on to commit the situation by an older brother in prison. While the crime was pretty horrendous, if ever there was an opportunity to reform someone though a 10 or so year grueling service deal the kid would have been an ideal candidate.
With respect to the other defendant, I mentioned to the defense guy while he was chatting with the prosecutor after the fact that the Lord had seen fit to give him a stupefying second chance, and he aught to counsel him to move off to the middle of nowhere and start from scratch.
It sounds like a weirdness that tests the sanity of the rule. It looks suspicious, but maybe it doesn’t even rise to the level of the proof of a crime. With the privileges of juries come their downfalls too. Maybe a pardon can eventually be had.
Lefties often want to see people in jail, it’s just different people.
This is civil liability.
What if he loaned him his tennis shoes to walk down to the drug house?
No it was to STEAL pot.
The drugs are irrelevant. Substitute anything else and the story plays out the same way.
These guys were going to do a home invasion robbery and, not surprising, someone got killed.
Did he know before he lent them the car or not is the point.
Ok. Thanks. I never thought about that. There is a difference. Again, thank you for pointing that out to me.
And was there more of this that went down? He claimed he thought it was a joke,which might be credible if that was the first time these pals had gone on a mission of this kind. But they might as well have just kept mum about the planned robbery/burglary and asked to borrow it to “see a girlfriend.” And yet on the third hand anyhow, who squealed about telling him... was this folks who were hoping to get a more lenient sentence? It’s hard to make rose perfume out of fermented skunk droppings.
Removing legal bans on pot might not do anything at all about people who want to steal it.
ANYTHING “The Nation” is against, I have to do serious thinking before I decide I agree with them. They’re just that far out on the communist edge of the envelope.
I doubt it will. People steal all kinds of things that they could buy at any supermarket.
“Did he know before he lent them the car or not is the point.”
I get the ‘law’, stupid as it may be.
I love people on here who can’t see the myriad circumstances under which they could find themselves in similar straits.
“can i borrow your pen?”
stab someone in the head and hand it back to you mr guilty.
How about you lend a family member 20 bucks who turns around and solicits a child prostitute? Guess what you little enabler you. Guilty.
we can go on and on but i’m quite certain that anyone who can say its not the point whether he knew or not will never admit to being wrong.
I love people on here who cant see the myriad circumstances under which they could find themselves in similar straits.
That is because most of us apply logic and reason rather then rampant emotionalism.
can i borrow your pen? stab someone in the head and hand it back to you mr guilty.
Prime example. If you ask me for a pen so you can stab someone in the head I am not going to lend it to you. If I do then there is something wrong with me.
How about you lend a family member 20 bucks who turns around and solicits a child prostitute? Guess what you little enabler you. Guilty.
Another good example of rampant emotionalism with no logic to back it up. Would I lend $20 bucks to some one who told me that he intended to hire a child prostitute with it? No.
we can go on and on but im quite certain that anyone who can say its not the point whether he knew or not will never admit to being wrong.
You certainly can go on and on but you apparently can not see beyond your emoting to the fact that if he knew has everything to do with the case.
In this case you are flat out wrong.
Having served on a jury, I doubt this story. It is very difficult to get a murder conviction, much less when you were asleep at the time of the murder.
i wasn’t wrong.
i responded to ‘Sorry but the point is if he did or did not know.”
You see at that point your post was over. You wasted a bunch of typing. You set me up with a line that you never meant and then refute the argument i made to that mistake.
So no. You were wrong.
apology accepted and i don’t need to ever hear another word from you. go play on the Huff Post.
When NYT reported on this story in 2007 they reported the detail that Holle testified that he was told they might need to knock out Jessica Snyder. He not only knew about the burglary, but also knew they intended to steal the drugs by violence if necessary. That’s why he was convicted of felony murder. He claims now that he thought it was all a joke. Which I’m calling BS on and so did the jury obviously, finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
I’ve seen this story told at least 3 other times since it happened, it’s more like a folk tale each time as more and more of the facts of his guilt are whitewashed. I expect the next incarnation to read that his roommate took the car without his knowledge at all.
People get scared because they think “it could be me! I lend my car to my friend all the time!” But unless your friend told you they intended to use it to rob someone by force and then killed them when it went pear-shaped you’ll be fine. I’m amenable to revisiting felony murder as law, as a lot of other countries have, but that’s a seperate issue. The prosecutor recognized his lesser involvement and offered him, and only him, a plea deal of 10 years. Holle rejected that offer and would already be out if he’d taken it. The killer was up for the needle, but ultimately he and all the rest of them got LWOP.
I have very little sympathy for Holle at the moment.