State v. Munoz

In State v. Munoz, 233 Conn. 106, 659 A.2d 683 (1995) the Court found it improper to decline a charge on proximate cause when one theory of the defense was that the defendant fought with the victim but left the victim alive, only to be killed by a third party after the defendant had departed from the scene of the altercation. The court concluded that "the jury instruction . . . was improper because the court did not indicate that, for the defendant to be found guilty, 'the defendant's conduct cannot have been superseded by an efficient, intervening cause that produced' the victim's death." Id., 122. The Court stated with reference to the doctrine of intervening cause that it "serves as a dividing line between two closely related factual situations: (1) where two or more acts or forces, one of which was set in motion by the defendant, combine to cause the victim's injuries, in which case the doctrine will not relieve the defendant of criminal responsibility; (2) where an act or force intervenes in such a way as to relieve a defendant, whose conduct contributed in fact to the victim's injuries, from responsibility, in which case the doctrine will apply. . . . Every person is held to be responsible for the natural consequences of his acts, and if he commits a felonious act and death follows, it does not alter its nature or diminish its criminality to prove that other causes co-operated to produce that result."