foreseeable consequences to others of that act or omission. Part IV, MCM 1984, Para 44(c) (2) (e).
It would be culpable negligence to conduct target practice in such a negligent fashion
that bullets are being fired toward an inhabited house within range resulting in the killing of an
occupant. Another example of culpable negligence is a killing after pointing a pistol toward another as a
joke and pulling the trigger believing, but without taking reasonable precaution to ascertain, that the
pistol is unloaded. Also, a death resulting from carelessly leaving poisons or dangerous drugs where
they may endanger a life could constitute culpable negligence. Part IV, MCM 1984, part 44(c) (2) (a).
In all of these scenarios, the person's behavior goes beyond simple negligence. In
other words, the conduct is higher in magnitude than simple negligence, but falls short of intentional
wrong. United States v. Riggleman, 3 CMR 70 (CMA 1952); United States v. Vaught, 49 CMR 747
(AFCMR 1975). Death is a foreseeable consequence, but not a probable one. If death is probable, the
accused may be charged with wanton murder.
Using this standard, an accused could be convicted of involuntary manslaughter for
the culpably negligent action of striking his four-month old daughter repeatedly because she would not
stop crying while he was changing her diaper. United States v. Mitchell, 12 MJ 1015 (ACMR 1982).
In Mitchell, the blows were of sufficient force to fracture the child's skull and cause a fatal brain
hemorrhage. Under these circumstances, the court reasoned, the act of striking the child to stop the
crying was done in a culpably negligent manner. It should be noted that the accused was withdrawing
from heroin to which he was addicted at the time he killed his girlfriend's baby.
QUESTION: What about random cutting and stabbing of an unconscious victim?
ANSWER: This might foreseeably result in the death of another and supports a finding of guilty to
involuntary manslaughter by culpable negligence. United States v. Cowan, 39 MJ 950 (MNCMR
The furnishing of a restricted drug is an act which is inherently dangerous to human
life. United States v. Moglia, 3 MJ 216, 217 (CMA, 1977). Therefore, the furnishing and assistance in
the injection of drugs can be the basis of an involuntary manslaughter charge if a death occurs from the
acts. In the case of United States vs. Ninkel, 13 MJ 400 (CMA 1982), the accused and three other
soldiers were in the barracks room "cutting" and "shooting up" heroin. In addition to injecting himself,
the accused injected a Specialist Soukup, at Soukup's request. Another individual, Specialist Steele,
entered the room. Steele purchased a quantity of heroin from one of the group, "snorted" it, and
complained that he was not getting "high" enough. He purchased some more heroin, and Soukup
attempted to inject the substance into Steele's arm. However, Soukup was unable to find a vein
whereupon the defendant held Steele's arm which permitted the shot to be administered. As a result of
the injection, Steele died. In affirming the accused's conviction for involuntary manslaughter, the court
observed that the defendant knew that