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§ 940.03, Felony Murder — PTAC Allegation Superfluous

State v. Theodore J. Krawczyk, 2003 WI App 6, PFR filed 1/21/03
For Krawczyk: John T. Wasielewski


¶25. Krawczyk next argues that he was incorrectly charged as “a party to the crime” of felony murder and that this error also rendered his plea to that offense unknowing. We agree with Krawczyk that the State did not need to include the party-to-a-crime allegation in the felony murder charge. Because “[a] person convicted of a felony as a party to the crime becomes a principal to a murder occurring as a result of that felony,” it is “redundant and unnecessary” to charge a defendant with felony murder as a party to the crime. Oimen, 184 Wis. 2d at 449. Krawczyk, however, does not explain how or why the inclusion of a “redundant” aspect in a charge deprives a defendant of information necessary to enter a knowing plea. We conclude, as did the supreme court in Oimen, that “no prejudice has been demonstrated” by reason of the party-to-a-crime allegation in the felony murder charge, and thus it does not justify a withdrawal of Krawczyk’s plea. Id.

Keep in mind that this is a guilty-plea case, and that failure to give PTAC instruction may give jury false impression that the death is a necessary cause of the felony. See Perry v. McCaughtry, 308 F.3d 682 (7th Cir. 1982), esp. dissent.


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