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§ 940.02, First-degree reckless homicide — utter disregard for human life — sufficiency of evidence

State v. Audrey A. Edmunds, 229 Wis. 2d 67, 598 N.W.2d 290 (Ct. App. 1999)
For Edmunds: Dean A. Strang

Holding: “Utter disregard for human life,” an element of first-degree recklessness, derives from the old second-degree (depraved murder) statute. It imposes an objective test. Therefore, in this shaken baby death, it’s irrelevant whether Edmunds had “personal knowledge that vigorously shaking a twenty-two pound infant could subject her to the risk of serious injury”: a reasonable person would have known of the risk. The extreme severity of the injuries establish utter disregard (force similar to fall from 2nd story window). The fact that Edmunds called 911 didn’t negate the element as a matter of law.

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