Davis v Commonwealth - Legal duty is one either imposed by...

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Davis v. Commonwealth 335 S.E.2d 375 (Va. 1985) Justice Stephenson. Mary Davis was convicted of involuntary manslaughter of her mother Emily Carter. 10 years in the penitentiary. Convicted because she failed to provide her mother with heat, food, liquids, and other necessaries. Issues: 1) Did she have legal duty to care for her mother 2) Whether she breached the duty by conduct constituting criminal negligence Paramedics arrived at the home of Davis and Carter. Was taken to the hospital, and was unstable. Died after three days in the hospital. Medical stuff shows that she was very cold (80 degrees, where a dead person reaches 82 degrees in 9 hours, after they die in room temperature). Dehydration of 5-7 percent = at least 2 days without water. No food for at least 30 days. Davis received Carter’s social security benefits, and food stamps, to pay for her house and food.
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Unformatted text preview: Legal duty is one either imposed by law or by contract. If a death occurs form omission to perform legal duty, they may be guilty of culpable homicide. If it was due to malicious omission of performance of duty, offense is murder. If no malice is shown, a person is criminally negligent in omitting to perform a duty, he is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Davis argued it was a moral duty, not a legal duty. US supreme court does not agree. Rational: Davis accepted sole responsibility for the total care of Carter. It became her full-time occupation. In return, Carter allowed Davis to live in her home expense free and shared with Davis her income from SS. Also Carter authorized Davis to act as her food stamp rep. So this is more than just a volunteer, it was a legal duty, not a moral one Court affirmed the conviction....
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