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ANSWERS TO MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS

6.A Under the M’Naghten test, a person may be found not guilty by reason of insanity only if mental illness prevented him from knowing the nature and quality of his act or from knowing that the act was legally wrong. Since Anthony knew what he was doing (i.e., that he was poisoning the Governor) and knew that it was against the law, he was not insane.

B refers to the irresistible impulse supplement, and is incorrect because the facts indicate that the jurisdiction has adopted only the M’Naghten test. C is incorrect because it refers to the Durham rule, which is no longer applied in any jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions, a defendant is insane under the M’Naghten rule if mental disease caused him/her to suffer from a delusion within the context of which the defendant’s act would be lawful. D is incorrect, however, because even within the context of Anthony’s delusion, Anthony knew that killing the governor was an unlawful act.

7.C Murder involves malice aforethought coupled with an act which proximately results in the unlawful killing of a human being. Since malice aforethought includes the intent to inflict great bodily harm, and since it was Duggan’s intention to severely injure Ventana, the only issue to be resolved in determining Duggan’s guilt is whether Duggan’s act was a proximate cause of Ventana’s death. If it was, then Duggan is guilty of murder.

Intervening proximate causes of Ventana’s death would not prevent Duggan’s act from also being a proximate cause, unless those intervening causes could be characterized as unforeseeable or independent. Although Ventana’s allergic reaction to the drug was an intervening cause of harm, there is no indication that such an allergic reaction was unforeseeable. Since the drug was given to relieve pain which resulted from the beating, neither its administration nor the patient’s allergic reaction to it can be termed independent. A is, therefore, incorrect. B is incorrect because Ventana’s death may have had several proximate causes. The fact that Dr. Medich’s conduct was one of them does not mean that Duggan’s conduct was not also one of them. Since Ventana’s death would not have occurred without Dr. Medich’s conduct, Dr. Medich’s conduct was a factual cause of death. Since Dr. Medich’s conduct occurred after Duggan’s, Dr. Medich’s conduct was an intervening cause of that death. But an intervening cause does not break the chain of proximate causation, unless that intervention was unforeseeable. Sometimes gross negligence or recklessness by an intervenor is held to be unforeseeable. This is not an inflexible rule, however. Under some circumstances, even reckless conduct or gross negligence has been held foreseeable. For this reason, a finding that Dr. Medich’s conduct was reckless or grossly negligent — without an additional finding that it was unforeseeable — would not be sufficient to result in the conclusion that Duggan’s conduct was not one of the proximate causes of Ventana’s death. D is, therefore, incorrect.

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