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Criminal Law
West Virginia University School of Law
Elkins, James R.

Criminal Law
Elkins Fall 2005

· Causation Jury Instruction:
o ” A proximate cause is one which played a substantial part in bringing about the death, so that the death was the direct result or a reasonably probable consequence of the defendant’s act. . .”
· Proximate Cause – A direct cause, or not a remote cause.
· Proximate cause -> substantial factor + foreseeability = culpability
· Underlying or predicate felony – the act from which the murder was born.
· The homicide or death must be part of one continuous transaction closely related in time, place, and causal connection.

Involuntary Manslaughter
(See road map)

Involuntary Manslaughter Jury Instruction:

Involuntary Manslaughter is the accidental causing of death of another person, although unintended, which death is the proximate result of negligence so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life.

Unlawful act not a felony during which someone is “accidentally” killed.

The Unlawful Act can only ADD to a claim and IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES prove gross negligence.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is the equivalent of criminal negligence and is only necessary if an intent to injure cannot be established
Jury Instruction:

The trial court instructed the jury that the prosecutor was required to prove that in doing the act which caused the victim’s death the defendant acted in a grossly negligent manner. The court defined “gross negligence” as willful disregard of the results of conduct

No intent

Voluntary Manslaughter
(See road map)

Voluntary Manslaughter Jury Instruction:

Voluntary Manslaughter is the felonious, intentional and unlawful taking of another person’s life but without premeditation, deliberation or malice.

Intent to kill

Jury Instruction for Specific Intent to Kill

The Court instructs the jury that to constitute a willful, deliberate and premeditated killing which is Murder Of The First Degree it is not necessary that an intention to kill exist for any particular length of time prior to the actual killing; it is only necessary that said intention should come into existence for the first time at the time of such killing or any time previous thereto.

Jury Instruction for Transferred Intent:

The Court instructs the jury that where the State of

Causal connection between the provocation, the passion, and the fatal act.

Murder 2 (Second Degree Murder)
(See road map)

Second Degree Murder Jury Instruction:

Murder of the Second Degree is the unlawful intentional killing of another person with malice but without deliberation or premeditation.

Intent to kill

See jury instructions under Voluntary Manslaughter


Malice Jury Instruction:

The word malice, as used in these instructions, is used in a technical sense. It may be either express or implied and it includes not only anger, hatred and revenge, but other unjustifiable motives. It may be inferred or implied by you from all of the evidence in this case if you find such inference is reasonable from facts and circumstances in this case which have been proven to your satisfaction beyond all reasonable doubt. It may be inferred from any deliberate and cruel act done by the Defendant without any