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Crim Law Midterm - Y. Regis

Ysabelle Regis
Gus’ Death
Ana is most likely to be held criminally liable for the death of Gus. In this jurisdiction,
Involuntary Manslaughter stems from those who recklessly cause the death of another. The
definition of Involuntary Manslaughter best fits the scenario of Gus’ death, where the assailant
lacked the awareness of the risk that the victim would die. Gus’ ingestion of the cocaine was
reckless due to the lack of supervision and setting he was put in.
However, involuntary manslaughter may not be sufficient liability to the reasonable person,
since the scenario involves the very preventable death of a child. Murder in the first degree
within this jurisdiction involves deliberate or premeditated malice, or attempting to commit
another listed crime, including first degree cruelty to children. There is no evidence of
premeditation or purpose in this scenario, but the elements of having unsecured drugs around
two minors and allowing them to be in a setting where adults are intoxicated and openly using
drugs is not appropriate and may be considered child endangerment or cruelty. More information
regarding the events leading up to Gus’ overdose would be needed to determine whether first
degree cruelty is an appropriate claim in this situation, however, the facts suggest that while Ana
did not deliberately have Gus ingest the cocaine, she did very little to prevent the scenario from
occurring, making her criminally liable.
Even though Gus was being watched by Ana’s 16-year-old neighbor, Xavier, the duty to care
still lies with Ana, making her liable and not Xavier. The duty to care falls between familial
connections such as parent to child, contractual connections to care such as babysitting or
schooling, or imminent duty to care, where someone is in immediate and dire need, and you can
assist them. Xavier was supposed to be watching Gus, which would make him liable as well.
However, given the fact that Xavier was a minor, and only agreed to babysit on a last-minute
request, we can assume that Xavier is not capable of being fully liable for the duty to care for
Gus, as he is not old enough himself to make fully informed decisions, and there is no record of
discussion regarding drugs in the house Xavier should have been avoiding Gus from ingesting.
Regardless, Ana invited a minor into her home where drugs were unsecure ,and was still in the
same area as her child, making her liable for both Gus and Xavier at the time. There is a
possibility that other partygoers could be criminally liable as they first noticed Gus’ seizure and
may have seen him ingest the cocaine, however we would need more information regarding the
moments before Gus’ overdose. Ana bears the responsibility of having the partygoers, Gus, and
Xavier all invited within her home, and the unsecured drugs, therefore making her criminally
liable for the death of her son.
The MPC does not define Involuntary Manslaughter separately from Voluntary
Manslaughter, stating that VM is murder under the influence of extreme mental or emotional
disturbance. MPC defines Murder as a death caused that was purposeful, knowing, negligent or
reckless. With the MPC, the scenario strays further from Involuntary Manslaughter and closer to
Murder. There are no degrees of murder within the MPC, but the facts of the scenario show a
clear recklessness and negligence for Gus’ wellbeing.
Lucia’s Death
Kevin is most likely to be held criminally liable for the death of Lucia. Voluntary
Manslaughter best fits the description of the scenario between Kevin and Lucia. Kevin pushed
Lucia, which caused her to fall and become unconscious. Kevin could not have reasonably
foreseen that pushing Lucia would result in her death, as he had no prior knowledge of her
preexisting aneurism. Kevin pushing Lucia was a reckless choice but was not intentional as
voluntary manslaughter is partially defined as. However, the act of pushing Lucia and Kevin
stating “I won’t let this b*tch get away with this” could be considered assault and battery, an
unlawful act. The statements made by Kevin combined with the battery do show intent of harm,
but not intent of murder, however the unlawful aspects of the scenario would best fit the
voluntary manslaughter description.
The other possible assailant could be Wayne, since he told Kevin about the kiss between him
and Lucia and could reasonably assume that would instigate Kevin and make him upset.
However, there is no way that Wayne could have known the way Kevin would react, or that it
would result in the death of Lucia, making his criminal liability very unlikely.
It could be argued that Kevin was under extreme emotional disturbance after hearing that
someone kissed his partner, which is what made his aggressive towards Lucia in the first place,
falling under voluntary manslaughter within the MPC. There could be purpose or recklessness by
Kevin for hurting Lucia and stating so beforehand, but more would need to be revealed regarding
the tone of Kevin’s voice when he made the statement to assess the gravity behind it, and how
hard he pushed Lucia, showing if the force of the push could have reasonably injured her, or if
the aneurism was the majority cause of death and truly could not have been foreseen.
Brett’s Death
Wayne is most likely to be held criminally liable for the death of Brett. Murder in the second
degree is defined in the jurisdiction as when one with malice aforethought kills another. There
was no plan or intention to kill Brett before the moment he charged at Kevin, which could be
considered self-defense on behalf of Wayne’s partner. However, once Wayne is able to get the
knife away from Brett and incapacitate him with the first stabbing, Brett is no longer an
immediate threat and Wayne should have retreated from that point. Wayne then stabs Brett an
additional three times, which shows malice aforethought and the intent to seriously harm and
reasonably foresee Brett’s death.
There are no other assailants except Brett himself in this scenario. Brett did charge towards
Kevin with a weapon, where Wayne is acting in self-defense on behalf of him and his partner in
order to defuse the potential harm. However, the first stab by Wayne landed on Brett’s left
shoulder and was likely sufficient to incapacitate him without causing death. Brett’s cause of
death was puncturing wounds to his internal organs, which would mean that Wayne stabbed
Brett again multiple times after the fact near his vital organs, which goes beyond the scope of
self-defense and into criminal liability for murder. However, we only know for a fact that Brett
was stabbed twice by Wayne and had four stab wounds by the time he was in the ambulance. If
there was no way to account for the other two stab wounds being Wayne, and that Brett’s stabs
weren’t necessarily in his internal organs, Brett may not be found liable whatsoever.
The MPC states that Involuntary Manslaughter can occur under the influence of extreme
mental or emotional disturbance, which Wayne’s PTSD may be attributed to. It is known that
Wayne does not react well in loud situations and has flashbacks and angry outbursts. It is likely
that when Brett charged Kevin, Wayne’s PTSD was triggered, and he had an outburst in order to
preserve his family and his loved ones. If Wayne’s PTSD can be used as an emotional
disturbance offense, it is possible that Wayne could only be held criminally liable for involuntary
manslaughter for the death of Brett.