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State v. Sealy

Supreme Court of North Carolina
117 S.E.2d 793 (1961)


Facts

While driving his car, Howard Franklin Sealy (defendant) failed to stop at a stop sign and struck and killed two men. Sealy was charged with involuntary manslaughter. At the conclusion of the trial evidence, the court read for the jury G.S. § 20-158, the statute which requires the driver a motor vehicle to stop before entering or crossing through highways and G.S. § 20-140, the statute defining reckless driving. Thereafter, the court instructed the jury “[i]f you find from the evidence…that the defendant intentionally violated one or more of the statutes read to you, designed and intended to protect human life, and ….that such intentional violation thereof was the proximate cause of the death of the deceased, then it would be your duty to return a verdict of guilty of involuntary manslaughter.” The court then instructed the jury “…[i]f you are satisfied from the testimony…that the defendant…was operating his motor vehicle in violation of the statute, in respect to stopping at the stop sign, …and that such action on his part was the proximate cause of the death of these two men, you would find him guilty of involuntary manslaughter.” Sealy was convicted and he appealed, arguing that the two instructions were conflicting and amounted to reversible error.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Denny, J.)

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