Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,500+ case briefs...

Commonwealth v. Twitchell

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
617 N.E.2d 609 (1993)


David and Ginger Twitchell (defendants) were Christian Science church members who believed in healing by spiritual treatment rather than conventional medical care. When their young son Robyn became ill with peritonitis, the Twitchells sought advice from Talbot, a church official. Talbot read them a church publication quoting from a Massachusetts statute, G.L. c.273 § 1, which provided that a child was not to be deemed neglected or to lack proper medical care solely because the child was being treated by spiritual means pursuant to the practices of a recognized church. Following Robyn’s death, the Commonwealth (plaintiff) charged the Twitchells with involuntary manslaughter based on wanton and reckless conduct. The trial judge refused to admit the language of c.273 § 1 into evidence and the jury convicted the Twitchells. The Twitchells appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 407,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,500 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial