Legal-Ease: Guilt by association and felony murder

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

In the legal world, the question of whether everyone involved in a crime is as guilty as the “trigger man” involves a careful analysis. In the state of Ohio, guilt by association is addressed by a legal concept referred to as “felony murder.”

To be guilty of murder in the state of Ohio, a person must have acted intentionally. Murder requires that someone was killed on purpose, which is different from the requirements for other homicides.

In school and school athletics, people of my generation who did nothing wrong were often punished or otherwise treated the same as other people who actually made mistakes. For example, in junior high basketball, if one of our teammates did something wrong, we were all required to run extra laps around the gym at the next practice. Only one person made the mistake, but others associated with that person were punished.

There were perhaps two reasons why the entire basketball team was “guilty by association.” First, I am sure we became more positively encouraging of each other. Essentially, we became “our brothers’ keeper” just to save our own skin.

Read more about felony murder and guilt by association in Lee’s article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Guilt by association and felony murder

Source:, “Legal-Ease: Guilt by association and felony murder,” by Lee R. Schroeder, July 28, 2017

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