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40 Ohio St. L.J. 569 (1979)
Involuntary Manslaughter: Review and Commentary on Ohio Law

handle is hein.journals/ohslj40 and id is 577 raw text is: Involuntary Manslaughter: Review and
Commentary on Ohio Law
The crime of involuntary manslaughter was defined at common law to
include two different types of homicides. An actor was held liable for
involuntary manslaughter when a death resulted from the commission of
an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or from the actor's performance
of an otherwise lawful act but in a reckless or extremely negligent
manner.' Involuntary manslaughter was distinguished from murder or
voluntary manslaughter by the absence of any intention to kill.2
The law of involuntary manslaughter in Ohio underwent significant
revision in the Criminal Code of 1974. Prior to 1974, the crime of
involuntary manslaughter was not defined as an offense with its own
statutory identity, but instead, essentially included various forms of
unlawful act manslaughter. The Code revisors retained unlawful act
manslaughter in the present involuntary manslaughter statute, but
specified that felonies and misdemeanors were to be the unlawful acts
giving rise to an involuntary manslaughter charge.4 In addition, the
Criminal Code of 1974 contains three other offenses that may be properly
characterized as types of involuntary manslaughter negligent homicide,5
aggravated vehicular homicide,6 and vehicular homicide. The purpose of
this article is to explore the present law of involuntary manslaughter in
Ohio and to ask whether the Code revisions of 1974, as interpreted by the
Ohio courts, are the most effective and just formulations of the law of
involuntary manslaughter.
The crime of involuntary manslaughter is codified in section 2903.04
of the Criminal Code:
(A) No person shall cause the death of another as a proximate result of the
offender's committing or attempting to commit a felony.
* Clerk, Judge Max Rosenn, Third Circuit, United States Court of Appeals; J.D., Ohio State
University College of Law.
1. F. WHARTON, HOMICIDE § 6, at 7 (3d ed. 1907).
2. Id. § 211, at 333-34.
3. OHIO REv. CODE ANN. § 2901.06 (Page 1954) (manslaughter in the first degree). Other
manslaughter status included: § 4511.18 (Page 1967) (homicide by vehicle in the second degree);
§ 4511.181 (Page 1967) (homicide by vehicle in the first degree); § 1547.13 (Page 1964) (watercraft re-
lated deaths); § 4999.04 (Page 1954) (locomotive related deaths).
4. OHIO REV. CODE ANN. § 2903.04 (Page 1975).
5. Id. § 2903.05.
6. Id. § 2903.06.
7. Id. § 2903.07.

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