Inadequate Data

to perform any analysis.

Data Request Process Grade 4.0 / 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

Vermont responded to our FOIA request under the Vermont Public Records Law within 1 day with a link to an online public database. We created our dataset by examining Vermont Department of Corrections data for people whose charge was listed as “felony murder.” There was no cost associated with the method. They also responded to both our initial and appeal request within a day.

The sentence lengths in the original data were separated into sentence years, months, and days. To calculate a total sentence length, we divided the month value by 12, the day value by 365 and added it to the year value.

In Vermont, felony murder is mentioned in the description for the general murder statute, but not given its own section. Within the data, there were only a handful of individuals (3 total) convicted under the description of “FELONY MURDER.” While Vermont is the second least populous state in the United States, and there are only 100 persons total incarcerated for any type of murder, it is still possible that there are more individuals incarcerated for felony murder than identified in the data set as the offense description field from the VDOC data does not seem to be standardized.

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

In Vermont, felony murder is codified in the first degree murder statute (Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-203).

Prosecutors can charge and convict any person of murder without having to prove that they intended to cause another person’s death. Prosecutors, however, must also prove that in committing or attempting to commit another specified felony, a person had the intent to inflict great bodily harm, or exhibited a “wanton disregard for human life.”

A conviction for felony murder carries a sentence of a minimum of 35 years and maximum of life imprisonment, or life without the possibility of parole, although a sentence can be as low as 15 years if mitigating circumstances are found by the jury.

Access the Data

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