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State v. Biechele

Rhode Island Superior Court
20005 WL 3338331 (2005)


Facts

On February 20, 2003, Daniel Biechele (defendant), a band tour manager, ignited fireworks inside a Rhode Island venue as part of the band’s show. The fireworks caused a fire that resulted in the deaths of 100 people in attendance. The State of Rhode Island (plaintiff) charged Biechele with 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter resulting from the commission of a misdemeanor, otherwise known as misdemeanor manslaughter. The state charged Biechele under the misdemeanor manslaughter theory based on the contention that Biechele violated a state statute prohibiting a person from possessing, controlling, or otherwise using pyrotechnics without a license and that such violation caused the death of the attendees. Biechele moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that the misdemeanor underlying a misdemeanor manslaughter change must be malum in se, rather than malum prohibitum. Biechele further contended that the charge violated due process in that the charge does not carry any requisite mens rea.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Darigan, J.)

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