Over the top wrote:
1278 wrote:From today's news:
A visits B in B's house and carries a loaded gun with him. B, a single mother of 4, played with her kids and B together in the bedroom for a while. A and B then left to get some Coffee in the kitchen. While they were in the kitchen, the 2-year-old toddler son of B found the gun and played with it. Most unfortunately, the gun fired a shot and killed his 11-years old sister.
What is the criminal liability of A and B, if any?
--- thanks for your discussion!
A might be reckless, but it depends on how the gun left his possession. Did he leave it on the table? Did it fall out of his pocket? Was it registered? Arguably more of a risk to have an unregistered firearm, but maybe not since the point of registration isn't necessarily safety. But for A leaving the gun there the accident wouldn't have happened. Is the kid's act a superseding cause? Probably not, 2 year olds (traditionally) can't have criminal intent so A leaving the gun there should have foreseeably seen that this accident could occur. B's probably not a conspirator, but he could be complicit if she knew A had the gun and almost surely if she saw B place the gun in harm's way. If you can make an argument to bump B up to knowingly (under the MPC), that'd help.
Thanks for the hypo, I actually really liked crim first semester.
Unfortunately, NOT a hypo: it really happened yesterday (?) in Philly.
I totally agree with you, Over the Top! I also think A’s leaving the gun in the room is the criminal act here, being both direct and proximate cause of the death. What a curious 2-year-old did can hardly be said to be abnormal or unexpected
, since they should be expected
to do anything possible! This is even more so when there are other three young kids in the room who can help him.
I also totally agree that A was reckless/negligent, depending on what really happened. Where did he leave the gun? (risk, deviation from standard of care)How did the toddler find it? Did A know toddlers (or this specific toddler, perhaps) or children well? Was he aware of the risk of 4 children in a room with a loaded gun? (awareness) A can be prosecuted for negligent manslaughter or even depraved heart murder under CL, depending on the context.
A will surely say he was not aware of the risk and that he did use reasonable care (maybe he did locked the gun, but the kids found the key). I guess he will likely get negligent manslaughter? No reasonable person would leave a loaded gun in a room with 4 kids. Under MPC, probably negligent homicide if he did try to hide the gun?
What I am really confused about is the liability of B. I thought conspiracy is not an issue here, since it’s about negligence/reckless and nobody has a specific intent? As for accomplice, since A’s crime is one of recklessness or negligence, B is accomplice if 1) she intended to help A in leaving his gun in the room AND 2) she was also negligent/reckless, right? So if B merely knew about the gun (or even saw A place the gun in the room), but didn’t assist (even less intend to assist) A in leaving it there, is her recklessness or negligence alone enough for making her an accomplice? Given her specific duty to protect her children?
Even if B is not liable as A’s accomplice, is B still liable in her own right for 1)having specific duty 2)failing to intervene, given that she knew about the gun? If yes, What crime would that be?
So grateful if your guys would care to further correct/clarify/discuss! 0L here, only some half-baked ideas from reading commercial outlines.