Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Beardsley case brief

People v. Beardsley case brief summary
113 N.W. 1128 (1907)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appeal from conviction of manslaughter in the Circuit Court for Oakland County (Michigan).

CASE FACTS
Respondent, married man, had affair with woman who took overdose of morphine in his presence. Respondent, who was intoxicated at the time, arranged for acquaintance to take woman to another room in the house. Woman subsequently died, and respondent was convicted of manslaughter.

DISCUSSION
  • The court set aside the conviction. 
  • The court rejected the prosecutor's argument that respondent had assumed the role of natural guardian and protector, which gave rise to a legal duty to make reasonable efforts to save her life. 
  • The court stated that although respondent's conduct may have been morally reprehensible, respondent did not have a legal duty to the woman simply because she was in his house. 
  • Because no legal duty existed and because respondent was not an active agent in causing woman's death, the court held that no criminal liability attached.

CONCLUSION
Court set aside conviction, holding that respondent had no legal duty to woman to take reasonable measures to prevent her death.

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