Monday, February 20, 2012

US vs. Rodriguez (August 17, 1912)

Facts: Respondent was charged with dealing two blows which floored the victim and resulted in the victim’s death, said victim was assisted by two eyewitnesses who volunteered to bring him home. Unfortunately, the victim fell again and died on the spot. 

The defendant used the following as his defense: 

1) The testimony of his daughter and two other witnesses 

2) The fact that his right hand was disabled and 

3) Medical certificate issued by a physician 

The defendant’s daughter claimed that she punched him because the victim had unchaste designs when he held her hand and that said victim was already on the floor when his father arrived. This defense was not sustained. However, the testimony of the two eyewitnesses and a third witness to whom the defendant allegedly confessed to that the victim’s death was an unlooked-for misfortune when the defendant arrested this witness was sustained. It was also not proved that the defendant could not strike blows with either hand. 

The medical examination showed that the victim had a hypertrophy of the heart; discharge in the spleen, an increase of this latter organ to four times its ordinary size and abdominal peritonitis. The physician claimed that the cause of death can not be determined for the blows he may have received could have coincided with a traumatism which that body received hastened the death of the said individual. medical exam result was also dismissed. Defendant was found guilty of killing Marcino Magno. 

Issue: Whether or not the defendant caused the victim’s death 

Held: Judgment was modified in and the respondent’s penalty was reduced to prison mayor 8 years and 1 day. 

A blow with the fist or a kick; though causing no external wound may very well produce inflammation and spleen peritonitis and cause death; although the assaulted was previously infected by some internal malady, if the blow given with one hand or foot, his death was hastened, beyond peradventure he is responsible therefore who produced the cause for such acceleration as the result of a voluntarily and unlawfully inflicted injury.

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