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To: Gordongekko909
Negligent homicide is weird like that. It involves someone doing something stupid that just happens to kill people by accident. Sentencing someone for stupidity is tricky.

I wasn't privvy to the original trial, but my understanding of involuntary manslaughter laws is that the prosecution must show that a reasonable person would have been able to foresee that the defendant's actions could cause death in roughly the same fashion that death actually occurred.

I would have argued (I don't know if the defense did) that while a reasonable person would have expected that the fireworks could cause a fire, a reasonable person would not have foreseen that such a fire could within three seconds grow beyond the abilities of fire extinguishers to deal with.

33 posted on 05/10/2006 4:13:16 PM PDT by supercat (Sony delenda est.)
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To: supercat

I don't know how Rhode Island's murder/manslaughter laws work, but that sounds about right. Accidentally discharging a gun and having the bullet fly a few blocks away and land on someone is negligent homicide / involuntary manslaughter (whatever your jurisdiction calls it); without getting into quantum of proof, I imagine that the standard for criminal negligence would be a bit higher than for civil negligence. I just can't see someone who designed a faulty gas tank or something being found guilty of negligent homicide if it killed someone.


34 posted on 05/10/2006 4:37:05 PM PDT by Gordongekko909 (I know. Let's cut his WHOLE BODY off.)
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To: supercat
I wasn't privvy to the original trial, but my understanding of involuntary manslaughter laws is that the prosecution must show that a reasonable person would have been able to foresee that the defendant's actions could cause death in roughly the same fashion that death actually occurred. I would have argued (I don't know if the defense did) that while a reasonable person would have expected that the fireworks could cause a fire, a reasonable person would not have foreseen that such a fire could within three seconds grow beyond the abilities of fire extinguishers to deal with.

There was no trial; this was a plea bargain: he agreed to plead guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter, the DA agreed that his sentence couldn't be higher than 10 years.

35 posted on 05/10/2006 4:46:14 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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