CR24-251 10/21/16

 

INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER 13 V.S.A. 2304 (and common law)

 

The State has charged (Def)_______________ with involuntary manslaughter, as follows:

[Read the charge.]

Involuntary manslaughter is an unlawful killing of another human being, done with no intent to take human life. It is an unintentional killing where the person acts [recklessly by disregarding] [with criminal negligence by failing to perceive] the risk of death or serious bodily injury.

Every crime is made up of essential elements. Before (Def)_______________ can be found guilty of the charge, the State must have proven each of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, the essential elements are that on the date and at the place alleged,

(1)               (Def)_______________;

(2)               caused the death of (victim)_______________;

(3)               the killing was unlawful; and

(4)               in causing the death of (victim)_______________, (Def)_______________ acted [recklessly] [with criminal negligence].

The first essential element is that (Def)_______________ is the person who committed the alleged acts.

The second essential element is that (Def)_______________ caused the death of (victim)_______________. The State must have proven that (Def)_______________s acts produced (victim)_______________s death in a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient intervening cause. [An efficient intervening cause would be an unexpected, independent force that broke the connection between (Def)_______________s acts and (victim)_______________s death.] You must conclude that (victim)_______________s life ended by means other than natural causes, accident, or suicide. You must also conclude that, but for (Def)_______________s acts, (victim)_______________s death would not have occurred.

Here the State alleges that (Def)_______________ caused the death of (victim)_______________by (specific acts)_______________.

The third essential element is that the killing was unlawful. The term unlawful killing means that (victim)_______________ was killed without legal excuse or justification. Legal excuse or justification ordinarily refers to such things as self-defense or legal necessity. [A killing may be justified where a person acts in self-defense, or in defense of another, or in trying to stop another person attempting to commit certain violent felonies. Here, the State must have proven that (Def)_______________ did not act in self-defense, or in defense of another, or in trying to stop another person attempting to commit (felony)_______________ with force or violence.]

The last essential element is that, in causing the death of (victim)_______________, (Def)_______________ acted [recklessly] [with criminal negligence].

[Criminal negligence means something more than ordinary carelessness. It means that (Def)_______________ disregarded a risk of death to such a degree that [his] [her] failure to perceive it, given the circumstances, involved a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the same situation.]

[(Def)_______________ acted recklessly if [he] [she] consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that [his] [her] conduct would cause death.  This means that, in considering the nature and purpose of (Def)_______________s conduct, [his] [her] disregard of the risk of death must have involved a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a law-abiding person would have exercised in the same situation.]

In determining (Def)_______________s state of mind, you should consider all of the surrounding facts and circumstances established by the evidence.

Here the State alleges that (Def)_______________ acted [recklessly] [with criminal negligence] by (specific acts)_______________.

All of the elements of the offense must have been present at the same time. If the State has not proven each of the essential elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt, then you must find (Def)_______________ not guilty. However, if the State has proven all of the essential elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you must return a verdict of guilty.