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Robertson v. Commonwealth

Supreme Court of Kentucky
82 S.W.3d 832 (Ky. 2002)


In the middle of the night, Officer Brian Kane sought to arrest Shawnta Robertson (defendant) for possession of marijuana. Robertson fled on foot and sprinted toward a bridge crossing the Ohio River. Kane radioed for assistance from other officers. When Robertson reached the bridge, he vaulted over a concrete barrier that separated the bridge’s roadway and pedestrian walkway. Michael Partin was one of three additional officers who arrived at the scene to assist Kane. The two other officers watched as Partin exited his police vehicle, ran toward the bridge, and vaulted over the concrete barrier. Partin did not reach the pedestrian walkway and instead fell to his death in the river below. There was a 41-inch gap between the concrete barrier and the pedestrian walkway. It is unknown whether Partin was unaware of the gap or whether he merely misjudged his vault. Robertson was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree for wantonly causing the death of another. The court of appeals affirmed. Robertson appealed on the ground that Robertson should not be criminally liable for the death that resulted from Partin’s own volitional conduct.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cooper, J.)

Concurrence (Graves, J.)

Dissent (Keller, J.)

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