Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,800+ case briefs...

People v. Heitzman

Supreme Court of California
886 P.2d 1229 (1994)


Facts

Robert Heitzman, a 67-year-old disabled man who was unable to care for himself, lived with two adult sons who were in theory his caretakers, but who subjected Robert to horrific neglect. Robert’s daughter Susan (defendant) had cared for him prior to moving away, but visited the home regularly and knew of the horrendous conditions. Upon his death, Robert’s sons were prosecuted for their abuse of Robert under a California statute criminalizing elder abuse. Susan was charged under the same statute for failing to prevent the abuse. Susan moved to set aside the charge, alleging that knowledge of the abuse did not create a duty to prevent it. In response to the prosecution’s (plaintiff) argument that the statute created such a duty, Susan filed a demurrer arguing that the statute was unconstitutionally vague. The court agreed and dismissed the case against Susan. The state appealed. The court of appeal reversed the lower court’s decision, holding that Susan could be found liable only if she was under an existing duty, and finding that she was under a duty to prevent the abuse based upon the parent-child relationship codified in other California statutes. Both Susan and the state appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lucas, C.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 450,000 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 450,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,800 briefs, keyed to 224 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