Wisconsin v. Cornelius

In Wisconsin v. Cornelius, 152 Wis. 2d 272, 448 N.W.2d 434, 436 (Wis. Ct. App. 1989), the defendant argued that, notwithstanding the inclusion of the born alive rule in the statutory definition of "human being," he could not be prosecuted for homicide for the death of a child resulting from the infliction of prenatal injuries. In rejecting the claim, the court noted that Wisconsin (like Arizona) had abolished common law crimes in favor of a criminal code. See Cornelius, 448 N.W.2d at 437. Nevertheless, the court observed that common law rules not in conflict with the code were retained, and thus concluded that it would have employed the born alive rule in interpreting the homicide statute even absent a statutory reference to the rule. See id. The Cornelius court found only one jurisdiction that did not conclude that the death of an infant as the result of fetal injuries constituted homicide. 448 N.W.2d at 437 n.5.