ISSUE: Was evidence upon causation insufficient to sustain Def.’s conviction of manslaughter?
HOLDING: Yes, but the evidence was sufficient enough to sustain the conviction of the lesser included offense of assault in the second degree.
FACTS: Def.’s girlfriend pushed Def.’s son into the tub, causing tears in the intestine. Son complained to father via phone that evening about stomach pains, when he returned home he saw bruises on son and knew that girlfriend had beaten him during the day. At 7:30 the next morning, a neighbor heard noises in the apartment, “daddy it hurts” thump...sounding like someone had been kicked or punched with a great blow.
Later that day, Son’s abdomen swollen. Def. thought he was exaggerating. Girlfriend prepared to take Def.’s son to the hospital, he died shortly after arriving there.
In order to convict Def. of manslaughter, state had to show that his conduct caused son’s death.
Causation: The antecedent but for which the result in question would not have occurred.
Acceleration: A defendant who causes the death of another is not relieved or responsibility for causing the death if another later injury accelerates, that is, hastens the death of the other person. Contribution without acceleration is not sufficient.
[A]The state is required to show for purposes of causation that Def.’s conduct hastened/accelerated son’s death.
-It is possible to make the victim’s pain more intense/aggravate the injury, without accelerating the time of the victim’s death.
But-for-analysis: “but for his infliction of the second injury, would the victim have died when he did?”
-Nothing more testified other than “possible.” (possible is not evidence, must be medical certainty of fact/truth).
-Def.’s conviction of manslaughter must be set aside for insufficiency of the evidence to establish that his conduct accelerated son’s death.
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