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Santillanes v. New Mexico

115 N.M. 215, 849 P.2d 358 (1993)

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Santillanes v. New Mexico

New Mexico Supreme Court

115 N.M. 215, 849 P.2d 358 (1993)

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Facts

Vincent Santillanes (defendant) cut his seven-year-old nephew’s neck in an altercation and was charged with child abuse. The state statute applicable defined child abuse as including “negligently . . . causing . . . a child to be . . . placed in a situation that may endanger the child’s life or health . . ..” At trial, the judge instructed the jury and provided a standard definition of negligence sufficient to support civil liability. That definition stated, “[A]n act, to be ‘negligence,’ must be one which a reasonably prudent person would foresee as involving an unreasonable risk of injury to himself or to another and which such a person, in the exercise of ordinary care, would not do.” Santillanes was convicted and he appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction and the New Mexico Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Frost, J.)

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