15.2504. Involuntary Manslaughter

1. A defendant commits involuntary manslaughter when he or she directly causes the death of another person by reckless or grossly negligent conduct.
[Optional language when conduct charged is failure to act:]
[The defendant’s conduct does not have to be a positive kind of action. A failure to act can be sufficient conduct as long as the defendant had a legal duty to act. With regard to legal duty, I instruct you that [a parent has a legal duty to protect the health and safety of his or her child, more particularly, the parent has a duty to [give other duties].]]
2. The defendant has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. To find the defendant guilty of this offense, you must find that the following [three] [[[[four] elements have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, that [name of victim] is dead;
Second, that the defendant’s conduct was a direct cause of [his] [her] death; and
Third, that the defendant’s conduct was reckless or grossly negligent.
[Where greater offense is charged:]
[If, and only if, you find that the above elements have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you must then indicate on the verdict form whether you find the following element also proven to that standard. The final element is that [[[[name of victim] was under 12 years of age and was in the care, custody, or control of the defendant at the time of [his] [her] death.]
[Optional language when conduct charged is failure to act:]
[3. Thus, you cannot find the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter based on a failure to [protect [name of victim]] [other conduct] unless you are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had a legal duty to [[[[protect [name of victim]] [other conduct], that the defendant failed to perform that duty, and that the defendant’s failure was reckless or grossly negligent and was a direct cause of [name of victim]’s death.]
4. The terms “reckless” and “grossly negligent” mean the same thing. A defendant’s conduct [including any failure to perform a legal duty,] is reckless or grossly negligent when he or she is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that death will result from his or her conduct, the nature and degree of the risk being such that it is grossly unreasonable for him or her to disregard it. In deciding whether the defendant’s conduct was reckless or grossly negligent, you should consider all relevant facts and circumstances, including the nature and intent of the defendant’s conduct and the circumstances known to [him] [her]. [[[[circumstances].
[5. As the definitions I just gave you indicate, the recklessness/gross negligence required for involuntary manslaughter is a great departure from the standard of ordinary care. It is a departure that shows a disregard for human life or an indifference to the possible consequences of one’s conduct.]
[6. Compared with recklessness/gross negligence, the malice required for third-degree murder is a more blameworthy state of mind. The essence of malice is an extreme indifference to the value of human life.]
7. The evidence you should consider when deciding whether the defendant is guilty of involuntary manslaughter includes [evidence].