Criminal Liability for Omissions: A Brief Summary and Critique of the Law in the United States
Paul H. Robinson
University of Pennsylvania Law School
New York Law School Law Review, Vol. 29, No. 101, 1984
Criminal liability for an omission is imposed in two distinct situations.
First, such liability is often imposed explicitly in offense definitions that punish a failure to perform certain conduct. For example, it is an offense to fail to file a tax return. Second, it is also common for a general provision, apart from an offense definition, to create omission liability for an offense defined in commission terms. Parents, for example, are generally given the legal duty to care for their children. A parent may be held liable for criminal homicide, then, where death results from a failure to perform this duty, even though the homicide offense is defined in terms of commission. Section I gives examples of the first basis for omission liability; section II discusses the second.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 26
Keywords: criminal liability, omission liability
JEL Classification: K14
Date posted: February 10, 2005