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Brief Fact Summary. Appellant stabbed Victim and Victim later died for refusing medical treatment for religious reasons. Appellant argued that because Victim refused life saving medical treatment, his conviction for manslaughter should be overturned.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. If at the time of death the original wound is still the operating cause and a substantial cause, then the death can properly be said to be the result of the wound, albeit that some other cause of death is also operating.
Issue. Whether the jury was given proper instruction regarding a determination of the cause of death.
Held. The appeal fails.
He who inflicts a wound or injury which results in death could not excuse himself by pleading that his victim could have avoided death by taking better care of himself/herself.
At common law, a man who did a wrongful act was deemed morally responsible for the natural and probable consequences of hat act.
It has long been the policy of the law that those who use violence on other people must take their victims as they find them.
Discussion. The Court ruled that the jury instruction was permissible. The basis for this ruling was that the perpetrator must take his victim as he finds them. Thus if the wound inflicted by a defendant causes the victim to be treated negligently in a hospital or refuse medical treatment for religious reasons, a defendant’s actions can still be held responsible for the victim’s death. Even though the acts of a hospital or the victim themselves might be the actual cause of death, a defendant’s act was the operative cause and thus he can be held liable.