Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Sauter case brief

State v. Sauter case brief summary
585 P.2d 242 (1978)

Defendant sought review of a judgment of the Superior Court of Maricopa County (Arizona), which convicted him of voluntary manslaughter.

The evidence showed that defendant, while intoxicated and during the course of an altercation, stabbed the victim. The victim was taken to the emergency room of a hospital and operated upon, but he continued to lose large amounts of blood after surgery. An autopsy revealed that the victim died from the loss of blood, principally through a one-inch, unrepaired laceration in the abdominal aorta. Defendant's position was that he was guilty of assault rather than homicide because of the intervening malpractice of the surgeon who did not discover the laceration in the victim's aorta, and he urged that error occurred when the trial court refused to allow evidence of the surgeon's failure to discover the wound to the victim's aorta.


  • The court held that: 
  • (1) where one unlawfully inflicted a wound upon another calculated to endanger his life, it was no defense to a charge of murder to show that the wounded person might have recovered if the wound had been more skillfully treated; 
  • (2) the intervention of the medical malpractice constituted a defense only if the death was attributable to the medical malpractice and not induced at all by the original wound; and 
  • (3) such was not the case here.

The court affirmed defendant's conviction.

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