PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Petitioner appealed from a decision of the District Court, Eagle County (Colorado), affirming the county court's decision that respondent skier's conduct did not rise to the level of dangerousness required under Colorado law to uphold a conviction for manslaughter and dismissed the charges.
FACTS: Respondent, an experienced skier skiing too fast, collided with the victim who sustained traumatic brain injuries and died. At a preliminary hearing, the county court found respondent's conduct did not involve a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death to sustain a manslaughter charge.
The district court affirmed the no probable cause finding. Granting certiorari, the court reversed and remanded.
While skiing ordinarily carried a very low risk of death to other skiers, a reasonable person could have concluded that respondent's conduct grossly deviated from the standard of care that a reasonable, experienced ski racer would have exercised knowing that other people were skiing in front of him.
Respondent's excessive speed and lack of control significantly increased the likelihood that a collision would occur and the extent of injuries that might result from such a collision, including the possibility of death.
OUTCOME: Reversed and remanded. Whether respondent committed reckless manslaughter was for the jury to determine. Skiing at such high speeds that when respondent collided with the victim, his ski fractured the thickest part of the victim's skull, created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death to another person.
Facts: ∆ was a professional racer skiing rapidly and, according to e/w, out of control
over a lengthy period before he struck and killed a man down mountain. ∆ charged with
reckless manslaughter but trial court and appeals court dismissed charges because “skiing
fast” does not constitute behavior so reckless that a reasonable person could foresee its
harm to others.
Rule: Out of control behavior can be determined to have consciously been reckless
enough to violate the law? “Criminalizing inadvertent harm. Really doesn’t have mens
rea, guilty state of mind—tries to coerce people into behaving w/in standards.”
NEGLIGENCE DIFFERENTIAL: Gross=criminal and simple/regular=civil
Subjective and objective negligence: “Don’t want people to just tumble into criminality.”
Takes into account the standards of the reasonable person (Subjective) whereas objective
is in the code?
What’s the relationship between negligence and moral culpability?
Subjective vs. Objective Negligence: Subjective based on values that come from
society, ∆ should have been aware of based on values, whereas objective negligence
stems from awareness that is specified in a code.
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