Rethinking deadly threats


December 24, 2003, 06:25 PM
Here's a situation:

Bad guy attacks an innocent civilian, leaving the victim with an injury that is not normally considered life threatening. The injury could be an ugly scar, missing tooth, deviated septum, or similar problem that most people would eventually get fixed. The victim waits a few months to see a doctor, possibly because he had to save money or had to schedule an appointment. During the procedure he has a reaction to the operation or anesthesia and dies on the operating table. Is the bad guy guilty of murder?


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December 25, 2003, 11:43 AM
You want the American answer or the Sicilian answer?

December 25, 2003, 03:50 PM
My 2 cents worth - (:) and that's about all it's worth)

IMO a really good DA could make a case for murder 2. In reality an average DA could very easily make a case for manslaughter since the BG's actions indirectly caused the death of the victim. I'm not sure but I believe there are time limits on this type of situation - i.e. if the victim waited 20 years and then died on the table instead of a few months.

December 25, 2003, 06:05 PM
I'd say "No" since it was non emergency or cosmetic surgery long after the injury occured. The operation is what killed him and not necessarily the injury. It would be hard to prove no fault on the hospital as well.

Also left out is whether or not the agressor recieved a criminal charge as part of the initial incident. That would also have some bearing on the case.

Now a civil suit is a different story.

Good Shooting

El Tejon
December 25, 2003, 06:47 PM
Carb, it depends.:D

Carb, the non-MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over--happens when people read El Tejon posts or to the young and nubile when El Tejon is talking to them) is likely no. Most states hold that one is culpable for the "natural and probable" consequences of ones act(s). The surgery, in most states, would be an intrevening cause stopping liability from attaching to the Defendant.

Depends on how one's state's Supreme Court defines causation. Think of "causation" as the bridge between criminal intent and criminal act. Some courts hold that if the intrevening cause is not unforeseen then one can be criminally liable. As well, some states' legislatures have statutes imposing criminal liability for intrevening causes, e.g. firefighters responding to an arson or medical treatment to the firemen.

Need to know a state's positive law (the written statutes) and how that state's Supreme Court defines causation. HTH. If not, let me know.

Remember, that's an answer at law; there always remains the questions of fact. IOW, a jury must still convict on such evidence. There's is still the burden of proof upon the prosecution and it matters a great deal on who sits on the jury. Just because a jury may convict, does not mean they will.

December 26, 2003, 01:34 PM
Thanks. Responses sounds reasonable, even the Sicilian one. Especially the Sicilian one. :D

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