DataNew Jersey  


In New Jersey, felony murder is listed as a subsection in the state’s “general murder” statute. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:11-3).

Prosecutors can charge and convict any person of murder without having to prove that they intended to cause another person’s death. Prosecutors must only prove that a person or an accomplice committed another specified felony and that a death occurred “in the course of such crime or of immediate flight therefrom.” Prosecutors can convict someone of murder even when the death was caused by a third non-party (i.e. neither the person nor their accomplice).

In New Jersey, people charged with felony murder can also raise an “affirmative defense” that they weren’t the one who committed the killing, weren’t armed, and “had no reasonable ground to believe” that another participant was armed, or “intended to engage in conduct likely to result in death or serious physical injury.“ Affirmative defenses, however, are extremely difficult to prove.

A conviction for felony murder carries a sentence of a minimum of 30 years to life maximum, and life without parole if certain aggravating circumstances are found.

Analysis: Race

*A note: In the New Jersey race estimates, about 13.56% of individuals' race is listed as unknown. From a cursory inspection, many names seem likely to be Hispanic. According to data scientists, identifying individuals as Hispanic or certain other ethnicities are consistent problems that raise barriers to estimating racial disparities.

Race and Conviction Rate

In New Jersey, you are 25.0279 times more likely to be incarcerated for felony murder if you are Black than if you are white.

Black 25.0279x

Disproportionate Representation

While Black individuals account for only 15% of New Jersey’s population


they make up 61% of all incarcerated people


and 71% of those incarcerated for felony murder.


In terms of gender, women make up 4.66% of felony murder convictions.

In Union, Atlantic, Cumberland, Mercer, Burlington, Passaic, and Essex counties, the overwhelming majority (over 75%) of those convicted of felony murder are Black.

Analysis: Harsh Sentences

In total, there are 236 persons incarcerated for felony murder in New Jersey (comprising 12.87% of all murder convictions). Of these individuals, 37 are sentenced to life in prison.

The remaining 199 persons are sentenced to a cumulative

5,235 years in prison

For those not serving life sentences, the median number of years in prison they were sentenced to is 30 years.

Analysis: Youthful Impact

Young people in New Jersey are disproportionately impacted by the felony murder rule.

  • 27

    Median age at offense for all crimes

  • 24

    Median age at offense for felony murder

  • 16

    Persons incarcerated for felony murder in New Jersey that were younger than 18* at time of their offense.

    *Of these young persons, 75% of them are Black.

Data Request Process

Data Request Process Grade 3.0 / 5 (C)
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.

How We Collected Our Data

We created our dataset by examining New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) data for people whose charge was listed as “Murder-During Crime/Flight From Crime.” This charge corresponds with the statute listed as 2C:11-3A3. In New Jersey, felony murder is defined in Revised Statutes Title 2C - The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice Section 2C:11-3 (a) (3), the same statute as in the data. We obtained the data through a public records request filed under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act. This analysis encompasses those convicted of felony murder as of April 2023.

Access the Data

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

This analysis encompasses those convicted of felony murder as of April 2023.