Omission as Actus Reus - Criminal Liability Basics
Omission, or the failure to act, can sometimes be grounds for criminal liability if some action is required by statute.2 min read
Omission as Actus Reus
Omission, or the failure to act, can sometimes be grounds for criminal liability if some action is required by statute.
In almost every jurisdiction in the United States, a six foot tall expert swimmer who sits by the side of a five foot tall pool and heartily enjoys watching a four foot tall child drown is not committing any crime by his omission (assuming he isn't the lifeguard, of course). The usual reasoning behind this is that people should be punished only for deliberately adding to human misery, not for being indifferent towards it. Also, in many situations where coming to another's aid might put the rescuer at risk, there is far too much difficulty in ascertaining at what exact point the risk to the rescuer becomes too great to incur criminal liability.0px;" class="adsbygoogle">