State v. Honorable AragonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that because the alleged conduct of a victim of the collision in this case occurred simultaneously with Max Fontes's alleged criminal conduct, Fontes was not entitled to a superseding cause jury instruction.
Max Fontes was speeding when he struck Angel Shelby's vehicle. Shelby and his son were not restrained, and the child died. Shelby later pled guilty to driving under the influence and endangerment. Fontes was charged with, inter alia, manslaughter. Before trial, the State filed a motion in limine to preclude Fontes from raising a superseding cause defense. The trial court denied the motion, finding that Shelby's acts could constitute a superseding cause. The court of appeals vacated the trial court's order, concluding that a superseding cause instruction was precluded under the circumstances. The Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the lower courts, holding (1) Fontes was not entitled to a superseding cause jury instruction because Shelby's alleged acts and omissions were not intervening events; but (2) the court of appeals failed to analyze the predicate issue of whether Shelby's alleged acts and omissions were intervening events.