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State v. Rose

Supreme Court of Rhode Island
311 A.2d 281 (1973)


State v. Rose

Facts

On April 1, 1970, Henry Rose (defendant) hit a pedestrian, David McEnery, with his car as McEnery was crossing the street. McEnery was thrown onto the hood of Rose's car. Rose stopped momentarily, McEnery rolled off the hood of the car, and Rose then drove away from the scene of the accident. McEnery’s body was later found underneath Rose’s abandoned car. Rose was charged with leaving the scene of the accident, death resulting, and also with negligent manslaughter. At trial, the only medical witness testified that McEnery could have died at the moment of impact, but he also could have died several minutes later. The medical witness could not state McEnery’s exact time of death. Rose moved for a directed verdict of acquittal on both counts, but the motion was denied. The trial judge instructed the jury that there was no evidence of Rose's culpable negligence in striking McEnery with the vehicle. The judge further instructed that to find Rose guilty of manslaughter, the jury would need to find that McEnery was alive immediately after being struck by Rose's vehicle, and that Rose's conduct after the accident was culpably negligent. Rose was convicted on both counts. On appeal, Rose challenged the denial of his motion for a directed verdict of acquittal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, C.J.)

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