Involuntary manslaughter common law

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Charles Barkley
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 9:56 pm

Involuntary manslaughter common law

Postby Charles Barkley » Sat May 05, 2012 6:18 pm

Depraved heart murder ("super reckless") can bump a reckless act up to murder 2 if it shows a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk to human life. For example, playing russian roulette with a gun could result in a depraved heart 2nd degree murder.

I'm wondering if there is a way for a reckless act (not super reckless) to result in involuntary manslaughter rather than 2nd degree depraved heart murder? Or can only criminal negligence result in involuntary manslaughter?

Thanks in advance.

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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:21 pm

Re: Involuntary manslaughter common law

Postby lawyerdown27 » Sat May 05, 2012 7:21 pm

Our prof taught us that a reckless act can be considered involuntary manslaughter, where extreme recklessness can get bumped up to depraved-heart/depraved-indifference 2nd degree murder. If the defendant was reckless, but took some (albeit ineffective) precautions to minimize the risk, that can negate the existence of depraved indifference to human life.

We studied State v. Bolsinger, 699 P.2d 1214, where the defendant and his partner were engaged in "rough" intercourse, where the victim wanted the defendant to wrap an alarm clock cord around her neck. So he did, but he tried to do it lightly (to the point where there were only light marks), but she died anyway. Defendant was still considered to have been reckless, given the low utility of his conduct and risk of harm, but his "precaution" saved him from having been considered depraved and indifferent.

This was really the only case that shed light on this idea for us. HTH.

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