Inadequate Data

to perform any analysis.

Data Request Process Grade 3.6 / 5 (B)
Factors Supporting Grade
Request Responsiveness
Financial Accessibility
No Residency Required
Appeal Responsiveness

*These factors track the process--i.e. the effort and obstacles--for obtaining data from individual states under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and appeals process. These factors do not measure the quality of the data; only the process of attempting to obtain the data.

Data Status

  • 19 days

    to respond to our FOIA request without any information specific to those convicted and sentenced for felony murder.

Although we attempted to use publicly available web portals to identify individuals incarcerated under felony murder, as in most other states, Iowa does not have a statute specifically codifying felony murder, which would make it easier to identify and isolate felony murder conviction data. Instead, as in most other states, felony murder is defined with its other murder statute and the publicly available conviction and sentence information did not distinguish felony murder from other murder convictions.

We appealed the FOIA results and asked for more specific data related to felony murder, but Iowa did not send over anything specific to felony murder.

In Iowa, felony murder is defined in the first degree murder statute (Iowa Code Ann. § 707.2).

Prosecutors can charge and convict any person of first degree murder without having to prove that they intended to cause another person’s death. See State v. Harrison, 914 N.W.2d 178, 196 (Iowa 2018) (ruling that the state is only required to show the specific intent to commit the predicate felony). Prosecutors must only prove that a person or their accomplice committed another specified felony and a death occurred, or that someone was killed “while escaping or attempting to escape from lawful custody.”

A conviction for felony murder carries a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

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Learn more about how you can contribute to transparency when it comes to felony murder.