Should Brandon Hein be released from prison?
In 1995, Brandon Hein was an 18-year-old boy in California. He and three friends were out cruising around and drinking. They went to buy marijuana from two other boys in the neighborhood. They got into an argument and one of Brandon’s friends pulled a knife and stabbed 16-year-old Jimmy Farris, who bled to death.
A jury convicted Brandon of attempted robbery and, under California’s felony murder rule, also of murder. He was given the same sentence as the boy who committed the murder - life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In 2009, Brandon’s sentence was reduced to 29 years to life with a chance of parole. Under California’s sentencing laws, 85% of a sentence must be served before becoming eligible for parole. For Brandon, that means he must serve another 10 years before appearing before the parole board.
What do you think of the felony-murder rule? Basically, it says that anyone can be charged with murder if someone dies during the commission of a felony, even if you’re not the triggerman. Does it make sense or is it cruel and unusual punishment? Do you think it is a deterrent to crime? Why or why not?
Find out more about Brandon Hein’s story and watch videos of interviews that have been conducted.