Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,300+ case briefs...

Henderson v. Kibbe

United States Supreme Court
431 U.S. 145 (1977)


Kibbe (defendant) and his co-defendant saw Stafford at a bar, intoxicated and displaying money. The defendants agreed to give Stafford a ride and decided to rob him. Kibbe slapped Stafford, took his money, and made him lower his pants and remove his boots. The defendants abandoned Stafford on a dark road in the snow, without his coat, shoes, and glasses, where he got hit and killed by a speeding truck. The driver testified that he was traveling 10 miles over the speed limit and did not understand warnings about Stafford from other cars. The driver saw Stafford in the road, but did not swerve or stop before hitting him. Kibbe and his co-defendant were convicted pursuant to N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25(2), which provides that a person is guilty of second-degree murder when “under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes the death of another person.” No jury instruction on causation was requested by either party, and none was given. Instead, the trial judge defined “recklessly” as being aware of and consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a certain result will occur. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction, stating that it only must be shown that the ultimate harm is something that should have been foreseen. The court of appeals did not address Kibbe’s claim of inadequate jury instructions, because the issue was not raised in the trial court. Kibbe then filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal district court, which was rejected. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed, finding that failure to instruct on causation created an impermissible risk that the jury did not make the required finding of causation beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, 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 367,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,300 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 to ask it.