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Commonwealth V Pestinikas

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Brogan Bowman

Commonwealth v. Pestinikas

Facts:        Joseph Kly met Walter and Helen Pestinkases (defendants) in 1981 when Kly talked to them about pre-arranging his funeral. The following year sin March, Kly who had been living with a stepson was hospitalized and diagnosed with a disease that made it hard to swallow his food. When he was allowed to leave on April 12, 1982 he expressed that he did not want to return to live with his stepson so arrangements were made with the Pestinkases. Through the oral agreement the Pestinkases were instructed how to take care of him and were given prescriptions to be filled they also agreed to give him food, shelter, care, and medicine he required. Arrangements were also made for a nurse to come and give Kly a B-12 shot.

According to Evidence at the trial the prescriptions were never filled. The P Pestinkases also placed him in a small enclosed porch of a distant building where he was exposed to outside weather conditions. They also withdrew over $30,000 from Kly’s account. Just two years after leaving the hospital Kly died and the Pestinkases were charged with murder.

                

Procedural History:        Originally the Pestinikas were convicted of third degree murder in the Court of common pleas, Criminal Divisions, Lackawanna County. They were sentenced to no less than five and no more than ten years in prison. The ruling was appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court

Issue: Whether the Pestinikas failed to perform their duties imposed under a contract can serve

as the basis for criminal liability?

Rule: The rule of law face was that when parties agree to perform certain duties imposed in a private contract, the failure to perform the duties is basis for criminal liability.

Analysis:        How far do we hold someone for being responsible for Kly’s “imprisonment” at the Pestinikas.  The nurse who was supposed to give him shots despite being turned away? The stepson he didn’t want to live with? There is no obligation to act unless in a special circumstance. A special circumstance example is someone with family relation, coaches, or school to student. However, there is no obligation to conduct a moral obligation act.

Conclusion:        The Pennsylvania Superior Court upheld that the pestinikas failed to uphold act based on a legal duty to act.

Sources:        

Samaha, J. (2015). Criminal Law. United States: Cenveo Publisher Services.

Commonwealth v. Pestinikas. (n.d) retrieved from https://www.casebriefs.com/ 

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