D met Alvarez at 2:30 AM, and they agree to a drag race.
Upon completing the course, Alvarez turned around sharply and started to do the course backwards. D followed.
When they reached the end, they could not stop. D (123 mph) flew over a canal and got crushed to death on the other side. D landed in the canal and swam to safety.
Trial court found D guilty of vehicular homicide.
FL District COA reversed, charges dismissed.
What are the two tests for causation?
Should a D be legally liable for all actions that he was the cause-in-fact for?
The most commonly used test is the "but-for" test.
A D's conduct is a cause-in-fact of the prohibited result if the said result would not have occurred but for the D's conduct.
In rare cases, the "but for" test fails, and the court must use the "substantial factor" test. (two separate acts, each alone is sufficient to bring about the prohibited result.
A D's conduct is a cause-in-fact of a prohibited result if the subject conduct was a "substantial factor" in bringing about the said result.
Even where a D's conduct is a cause-in-fact of a prohibited result, courts may decline to impose criminal liability where either…
The prohibited result of the D's conduct is beyond the scope of any fair assessment of the danger created by the D's conduct
It would otherwise be unjust, based on fairness and policy considerations, to hold the D's criminally responsible for the prohibited result.
It is unjust to hold a D criminally responsible for someone's death that was caused by the person's own reckless conduct.
The issue is less of causation and more of responsibility.
Policy considerations are against imposing responsibility for the death of a participant in a race on the surviving racer when his sole contribution to the death is the participation on the event mutual agreed upon.
D's participation was not a proximate cause of the death because the deceased, in effect, killed himself by his own reckless driving. It would be unjust to hold the D criminally responsible for the death.