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State v. Beagley

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-19-2013
Case #: A145054
Schuman, P.J. for the Court;Wollheim, J.; and Nakamoto, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A145054.pdf

Criminal Law: A parent has an absolute duty to provide medical care to their child, and once a reasonable person would know that there is a substantial risk that a child will die without medical care, the parent must provide medical care, or allow medical care to be administered.

Defendants appealed a conviction of criminally negligent homicide. Defendants had an ill 16-year old son. Defendants did not seek medical care because of their religious beliefs. The son died from not receiving medical care. Defendants appealed. On appeal Defendants argued, first, whether the criminally negligent homicide statute imposed a duty on Defendants to provide necessary medical care; second, whether the jury was correctly instructed as to which facts were necessary to convict someone of criminally negligent homicide; and third, whether the jury was prejudiced by hearing testimony regarding a previous relatives death under similar circumstances.  The Court held that a parent has an absolute duty to provide medical care to their child, and once a reasonable person would know that there is a substantial risk that a child will die without medical care, the parent must provide care, or allow medical care to be administered. Next, the Court held that the jury instructions correctly informed the jurors in order to convict Defendants of criminally negligent homicide, and when viewed as a whole the instructions were free from error. Finally, the Court held that the jury was not prejudiced by the testimony regarding a previous relatives death. Affirmed.