People v. Arzon
92 Misc.2d 739, 401 N.Y.S.2d 156 (1978)
Arzon intentionally set his
apartment on fire. The firemen arrived to put it out.
Coincidentally, at the exact
same time, an arsonist was setting the building on fire. Some of the
firemen who came to put out Arzon's fire had their escape route cut off
Arzon had absolutely nothing
to do with the second fire.
Arzon was arrested and charged
Specifically, Arzon was
charged with, "under circumstances envincing a depraved indifference
to human life, recklessly engaging in conduct with created a grave risk
of death to another person."
Arzon made a motion to dismiss
the murder charge.
Arzon argued that there was
no causal link between his fire and the deaths.
The Trial Court denied the
motion to dismiss.
The Trial Court found that
the defendant's conduct need not be the sole and exclusive factor in the
victim's death. An individual is criminally liable if his conduct was a
sufficiently direct cause of death, and the ultimate harm was something
that should have been foreseen as being reasonably related to his acts.
In this case it was
foreseeable that the firemen would try to put out the fire, and it was
foreseeable that they would be in danger.
In addition, even if
Arzon's fire wasn't the direct cause of the firemen's deaths, it
contributed to their deaths by making them "particularly vulnerable
to a separate and independent force."