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Flippo v. State - 258 Ark. 233, 523 S.W.2d 390 (1975)

Rule:

For criminal liability to be based upon a failure to act it must be found that there was a duty to act - a legal duty and not simply a moral duty. If the omission to act was intentional, but without the intention or expectation of fatality, the crime would be involuntary manslaughter because of criminal negligence.

Facts:

Defendants, a father and his son, were in the woods when the son attempted to shoot a deer. Instead, he shot the victim. Defendants ran for help and the person who came back to the victim happened to be the victim's father. Defendants assured the victim's father that they would call for an ambulance. Defendants then drove over 12 miles home, hid the gun, and then called an ambulance. In the meantime the victim bled to death. Defendants were tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Defendants appealed.

Issue:

Taking into consideration the circumstances of the case at hand, should the defendants be convicted of involuntary manslaughter?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court affirmed the decision of the trial court. The court found that there was substantial evidence from which the jury could find that defendant son, who was hunting out of season, was criminally negligent by acting without due caution when he fired at an object that he mistakenly believed was a deer. Furthermore, defendant son failed to discharge his duty to render aid. Finally, the jury could infer that defendant father's delay caused the helpless victim to be secluded in the field waiting for the ambulance and prevented others from rending assistance.

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