LAW 535-001 – Criminal Law
Intervening cause is an independent force that occurs after the defendant's act and is also an actual cause of the harm.
- How substantial the defendant's causal responsibility is to that of the intervening cause
- If insubstantial, unlikely to be foreseeable.
- Whether the intervening acts were "reasonably foreseeable"
- The defendant cannot escape liability if the intervening act was "reasonably foreseeable."
An intervening cause can either be responsive to or independent of the defendant's actions.
A responsive cause is one that occurs in reaction or response to the defendant's prior wrongful conduct.
A responsive intervening cause generally does not relive the initial wrongdoer of criminal responsibility because it is generally foreseeable.
An independent cause is a force that does not occur in response to the initial wrongdoer's actions but does occur because of the situation such action placed the victim in.
An independent cause will usually relieve the original wrongdoer of criminal responsibility of the independent cause's harm unless it was foreseeable.
If the other factors do not make it clear, it is unlikely to be proximate cause, but a few miscellaneous factors can still be considered: