State v. Brown (1981)

In State v. Brown, 129 Ariz. 347, 631 P.2d 129 (App. 1981), the defendant operated a boarding house and provided care to a 98-year old woman. Because of her medical condition, the health department obtained a court order that required the defendant cease providing care and lodging to her. Instead, the defendant hid the woman in a different location and put her in the care of a seventeen-year old girl. Due to lack of proper care, the woman died of starvation. Id. at 348, 631 P.2d at 130. The defendant was convicted of, among other crimes, manslaughter. On appeal, the defendant claimed in part that because the jury was improperly instructed on her duty toward the victim, she was convicted of acts which were not crimes. The Supreme Court disagreed, noting that in some circumstances under which one person owes a legal duty to another, but neglects the legal duty and death is the immediate and direct result, that person may be charged with manslaughter. Id. at 349, 631 P. 2d at 131.