Man was mortally wounded by gunshot. Rather than suffer he slit his own throat. Δ guilty of murder. Coincidental (independent) intervening cause force that does not occur in response to initial wrongdoer’s conduct o Only relationship btw Δ’s conduct and intervening cause is that Δ placed victim in situation where intervening cause could independently act upon him o Relieves original wrongdoer of criminal responsibility UNLESS foreseeable V passenger in D’s car, D robs V and abandons on rural road; X hits V, who is standing in middle of road and kills him; X’s conduct is intervening cause, although this might be FORESEEABLE (Δ is guilty) D wounds V, V taken to hospital, V is killed by maniac running through hospital killing people. X is coincidental intervening cause. V in wrong place at wrong time b/c of Δ’s original wrongdoing. Probably not foreseeable c. Intended Consequence Doctrine We usually trace the cause of social harm backwards through other causes until we reach an intentional wrongdoer. Hypo: Mom gives nurse poison disguised as medicine to administer to baby. Nurse puts medicine aside and forgets about it. Another person comes along and gives medicine to baby. Mom is guilty b/c she had intent to kill and she committed act, even though there were two negligent people to break the chain of causation. We look for party with the intent to murder. d. Apparent Safety Doctrine:
When Δ’s active force comes to rest in position of apparent safety, court will no longer follow it Hypo: Spouse’s physical violence causes his wife to flee the house on a freezing night, and although the wife can find nearby shelter with a relative or friend, decides to spend the rest of the night outside, and dies from freezing. Not guilty. e. Free, deliberate, informed human intervention: Δ may be relieved of criminal responsibility if free, deliberate, informed intervening human agent UNLESS such act resulted from duress Commonwealth v. Root . Δ charged w/ involuntary manslaughter for death of his competitor during drag race; V passed Δ and ran into oncoming truck and died ; death from drag racing is foreseeable HOWEVER second driver engaged in activity that heightened probability of his own death; Δ is not guilty. f. Omissions: rarely serve as superseding cause (even if omitter has duty to act). Hypo : Δ supplies drugs to friend. Friend injects drugs and passes out due to overdoes. Δ tells everybody friend is fine and they should go away. Δ is guilty of manslaughter for omission to act. Δ created the dangerous situation and then isolated victim so he had duty to act. Palmer v. State. Woman convicted of manslaughter for not preventing her boyfriend from beating her child to death after repeated instances of abuse over time. her gross and criminal negligence was a contributing cause of death.
- Spring '13
- criminal law, offense