What could this guy be charged with?

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TheBigMediocre
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What could this guy be charged with?

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun May 30, 2010 9:41 am

--LinkRemoved--

Gist of the story is that a 91-year old won money on a casino ticket. 56-year old overhears him and swipes the ticket. 91-year old chases him and in the process has a heart attack and dies.

My question is, what could the 56-year old be charged with? Is involuntary manslaughter out of the question?

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thesealocust
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 30, 2010 10:03 am

edited / never mind
Last edited by thesealocust on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cavalier
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Cavalier » Sun May 30, 2010 10:10 am

Felony murder might be a possibility depending on the jurisdiction, if I recall crim correctly.

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun May 30, 2010 10:19 am

thesealocust wrote:Causation fail.


I'm just a lowly 0L, so I wouldn't doubt I was completely wrong in guessing involuntary manslaughter. I just didn't know if it could be argued that the he caused the death of the 91-year old in the process of committing an unlawful act, so transferred intent or constructive malice or whatnot.

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thesealocust
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 30, 2010 10:35 am

edited / never mind
Last edited by thesealocust on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

06132010
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby 06132010 » Sun May 30, 2010 10:37 am

TheBigMediocre wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Causation fail.


I'm just a lowly 0L, so I wouldn't doubt I was completely wrong in guessing involuntary manslaughter. I just didn't know if it could be argued that the he caused the death of the 91-year old in the process of committing an unlawful act, so transferred intent or constructive malice or whatnot.


you're going to be such a gunna.

Renzo
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Renzo » Sun May 30, 2010 10:38 am

booyakasha45 wrote:
you're going to be such a gunna.

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98234872348
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby 98234872348 » Sun May 30, 2010 10:52 am

Cavalier wrote:Felony murder might be a possibility depending on the jurisdiction, if I recall crim correctly.

I doubt stealing qualifies as in inherently dangerous felony.

CanadianWolf
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 30, 2010 10:59 am

Are there any jurisdictions that require value of a stolen item to be greater than $240 in order to be classified as a felony? (I believe that some jurisdictions require at least $500 in value to be classified as felony theft, if this is deemed to be a theft crime as opposed to robbery.)
What if the alleged thief swallowed the ticket when he was apprehended?
What if the 91 year old incorrectly thought that the ticket was worth $240, but it really was valued at only $24?
Many, maybe most or all, jurisdictions would classify this as a robbery, and not as a theft crime.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Sun May 30, 2010 11:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

Renzo
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Renzo » Sun May 30, 2010 11:00 am

mistergoft wrote:
Cavalier wrote:Felony murder might be a possibility depending on the jurisdiction, if I recall crim correctly.

I doubt stealing qualifies as in inherently dangerous felony.

Not usually, but some states have 'crimes against the elderly' laws that might get an ambitious prosecutor over the hump

Esc
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Esc » Sun May 30, 2010 11:03 am

TheBigMediocre wrote:http://www.wpxi.com/news/23708322/detail.html

Gist of the story is that a 91-year old won money on a casino ticket. 56-year old overhears him and swipes the ticket. 91-year old chases him and in the process has a heart attack and dies.

My question is, what could the 56-year old be charged with? Is involuntary manslaughter out of the question?


The answer will completely vary depending on the jurisdiction. Criminal law varies extensively by state - some states follow the Model Penal Code approach, others follow different common law doctrines such as the Pennsylvania model. Most allow felony murder, but differ on what will "trigger" the doctrine, while a few allow "misdemeanor manslaughter." I'd guess the thief in this hypo could most likely be charged with involuntary manslaughter, or criminally-negligent homicide in an MPC jurisdiction, with felony murder as a possibility depending on how lenient the jurisdiction is with allowing FM.

Transferred intent won't work in this case - its usually only applicable where someone intends to batter or kill a person, and they miss and hit a different person. Intent to steal will not transfer into intent to harm or kill.

I don't think causation will be an issue here. Actual causation is cut and dried - she wouldn't have had the heart attack if he hadn't stolen the ticket (you take your victim as you find them). Proximate causation is fuzzy but probably satisfied - causing harm from shock is probably foreseeable when robbing an elderly individual - and if I recall my crim, proximate cause issues in crim usually only arise when dealing with intervening causes.

my $0.02. But as a 0L you really shouldn't be worried about this stuff. If you really want to gun go read the Glannon CivPro E&E, and then chillax.

06132010
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby 06132010 » Sun May 30, 2010 11:03 am

CanadianWolf wrote:What if the alleged thief swallowed the ticket when he was apprehended?


that would be an epic fail in a casino.

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Doritos
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Doritos » Sun May 30, 2010 11:07 am

Image

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pinkzeppelin
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby pinkzeppelin » Sun May 30, 2010 11:08 am

Well there could be a case made for it, but it's unlikely. If the thief had reason to believe that the 91 year old would chase him, and he knew that the 91-year old suffered from conditions that made it likely that he would have a heart attack, then you could possibly charge him since he was aware of the possibility. Since these things would be hard to prove, the argument would probably rest on whether a "reasonable" person would think that a heart attack would occur in a really old guy if he chased you. I doubt that would be an easy case to make.
Possible, but unlikely.

CanadianWolf
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 30, 2010 11:15 am

Misdemeanor level theft crimes against a person above the age of 65 can be reclassified as a felony offense if at least $300 in value in the state of Florida according to a Goggle search.
But what if this was a casino on tribal land? Tribal law would probably control.

06132010
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby 06132010 » Sun May 30, 2010 11:21 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Misdemeanor level theft crimes against a person above the age of 65 can be reclassified as a felony offense if at least $300 in value in the state of Florida according to a Goggle search.
But what if this was a casino on tribal land? Tribal law would probably control.


but it's almost definitely not a predicate felony for felony murder. even if it was, I think most jurisdictions would require more of a causal link between the felony and the death.

CanadianWolf
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 30, 2010 11:43 am

Was the 91 year old's hand still attached to the ticket ?
Michigan may have abolished their "felony-murder rule" via Michigan Supreme Court decision during the last ten years or so. However, if the chase crossed state lines....

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macattaq
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby macattaq » Sun May 30, 2010 1:08 pm

I think it depends on how the lottery ticket is viewed in the jurisdiction. If it is viewed as a check or a promise to pay a set value, then it is more likely that you might be able to see an argument for felony murder. But that depends on the amount at which the money taken goes becomes a felonious amount. If it is viewed as petty theft of a chattel or something like that, then there is very little chance you will see a felony murder charge.

Esc
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Esc » Sun May 30, 2010 1:43 pm

betasteve wrote:
Esc wrote:
I don't think causation will be an issue here. Actual causation is cut and dried - she wouldn't have had the heart attack if he hadn't stolen the ticket (you take your victim as you find them). Proximate causation is fuzzy but probably satisfied - causing harm from shock is probably foreseeable when robbing an elderly individual - and if I recall my crim, proximate cause issues in crim usually only arise when dealing with intervening causes.

my $0.02. But as a 0L you really shouldn't be worried about this stuff. If you really want to gun go read the Glannon CivPro E&E, and then chillax.

Actual causation, completely agree. However, as to PC—I think it may depend on the 91 yr old's knowledge of heart condition as well. I had a case in crim where a prisoner or drunk was arguing or in an altercation with a jailor or sheriff, and the sheriff, with a heart condition known to himself did some act which caused heart problems and then rolled around on the ground hurting until he died. Court found that there was no prox. cause, I think. Sorry for the vagueness; I even tried to find the case in my outline, but couldn't. The recap was worded somewhat similarly to the case in hopes that it would jog someone else's memory.


Prox cause is really fuzzy, so I'm sure you're right. I think it might depend on whether the deceased appeared healthy or not. If the sheriff was young and otherwise healthy, it likely wouldn't be reasonable for a stranger to realize that he had hidden heart issues, whereas with the 91 year old lady its very reasonable to suspect that she could have hidden heart issues.

Esc
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Esc » Sun May 30, 2010 2:23 pm

betasteve wrote:
Esc wrote:
Prox cause is really fuzzy, so I'm sure you're right. I think it might depend on whether the deceased appeared healthy or not. If the sheriff was young and otherwise healthy, it likely wouldn't be reasonable for a stranger to realize that he had hidden heart issues, whereas with the 91 year old lady its very reasonable to suspect that she could have hidden heart issues.

Yeah, but then the next question is whether it is foreseeable that someone in poor health would run after a lottery ticket just in terms of P/C to the actor. But to me the stronger concern is whether there was intervening cause to heart attack by the victim choosing to run after the robber. Certainly some facts would be needed, but if she just took a couple steps towards and had a heart attack then I think it's not intervening. But if the victim, with a known heart condition, chose to run a fair distance then that is possibly intervening.

I mean this is distinguishable from a case where there is a heart attack based on fright, apprehension or something utterly in the control of the ∆/actor. Certainly the victim had no choice to be subject to the robbery, but there is some choice as to chasing after the ∆/actor. And that choice must be considered in the proximate cause chain as normal or intervening.


My personal intuition would be that since the harm (heart attack) was foreseeable to the individual victim, the means by which it happened (possibly unforeseeable sprinting) wouldn't be relevant. I'm also uncomfortable with calling running after a thief an intervening cause...what the victim did in this case would be contributory/comparative negligence in a torts analysis, but I can't see it being covered by intervening cause doctrine in either torts or crim. My crim is admittedly kind of rusty, though, and we didn't go over proximate cause too much in crim, so I could easily be wrong.

PoliticalJunkie
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby PoliticalJunkie » Sun May 30, 2010 2:41 pm

pinkzeppelin wrote:Well there could be a case made for it, but it's unlikely. If the thief had reason to believe that the 91 year old would chase him, and he knew that the 91-year old suffered from conditions that made it likely that he would have a heart attack, then you could possibly charge him since he was aware of the possibility. Since these things would be hard to prove, the argument would probably rest on whether a "reasonable" person would think that a heart attack would occur in a really old guy if he chased you. I doubt that would be an easy case to make.
Possible, but unlikely.


The 56 y/o doesn't need to know that his theft would spark a chain of events, just that it did spark that chain. His "knowing" whether the guy would run after him or "knowing" that the guy has a heart condition is irrelevant. He wouldn't have died, arguably, if he had not started to chase the guy and he wouldn't have started to chase the guy until he was robbed.

Felony Murder is probably the highest and a good argument could be made - 18 PA Cons 3701 (a)(1)(v) - since it can be considered a felony. Invol. Manslaughter is probably likely though since the former may be a stretch given the $250.

Esc
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Esc » Sun May 30, 2010 3:24 pm

betasteve wrote:a fact question for jury.


At the end of the day prox cause always comes down to this doesn't it :|

Esc
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby Esc » Sun May 30, 2010 3:48 pm

betasteve wrote:
Esc wrote:
betasteve wrote:a fact question for jury.


At the end of the day prox cause always comes down to this doesn't it :|

Can't courts determine that some things are/aren't intervening as a matter of law? I'm pretty sure they can.


True, good point. I think this is one of those areas where the trial court has a lot of discretion either to decide for itself or to send the question to the jury. If I remember what my crim prof said, appellate courts usually defer to the trial court on proximate cause because proximate cause varies so greatly by the individual case, and the thought is that the trial judge will be best situated to decide what to do with the prox cause question.

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby TheBigMediocre » Sun May 30, 2010 5:28 pm

Esc wrote: But as a 0L you really shouldn't be worried about this stuff. If you really want to gun go read the Glannon CivPro E&E, and then chillax.


Oh I wasn't too worried, just curious after reading the news story and also I wanted to generate a little discussion. Which succeeded! And I'm also reading the E&Es :oops:

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thesealocust
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Re: What could this guy be charged with?

Postby thesealocust » Sun May 30, 2010 7:26 pm

tl;dr
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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