"Scoot Tenorman Must Die" - What law, if any, did Cartman break?

Luring Radiohead to Colorado on the false pretenses that they would visit (and play for?) a dying child.

No offense meant, but that’s a self-contradictory statement. If the intent was murder and the outcome of the action was foreseeable, then as a matter of law the actor is criminally liable for murder, full stop.

The fact that it worked the very first time he tried it, in precisely the manner he intended it to work, is a pretty powerful argument for foreseeability. More on that below.

The reasonable people are traditionally struck by both sides in voir dire, but I digress.

First, it’s not manslaughter, not according to the common law definition. Voluntary manslaughter is murder mitigated by provocation - if it’s not murder, it can’t be voluntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is unintended homicide cause by criminal act or criminal negligence, so if an intent to kill was present it doesn’t fit. He could plead to some statutory versions of manslaughter as reckless homicide, but it’s not the maximum he could be charged and convicted of. If proximate cause for murder can’t be established, proximate cause for manslaughter can’t either.

Second, we’re essentially trying to apply real world law to comic book logic here, e.g. the reasonableness of parents fearing a pony biting off their son’s wiener, but what the hell, I’ve seen law school test fact patterns almost this screwy. The foreseeability argument here would cause a seasoned trial attorney to drool on his tie. At trial the argument becomes: “The defendant Eric Cartman wants to now claim that the deaths were not foreseeable through his conduct. The main problem with is the public confession…no, the exultation of the defendant. He bragged, he gloated in the foreseeability of these homicides! He told the poor child that he foresaw and planned how their murders would take place, and that’s exactly what happened! He wants to now claim that the deaths weren’t foreseeable? He intended the murder to take place, he knew that those poor souls were walking to into their own demise, and it took place in exactly the manner he intended! Do you need further proof of the defendant’s ability to effectuate his nefarious schemes? The defendant slaughtered, butchered, cooked and fed these poor souls to their own grieving son, just as the defendant intended!” This is in rebuttal and is the last thing ringing in the shellshocked jury’s ears as the shuffle off to deliberate.

Seriously, it may not seem foreseeable to you on paper, but it’s plenty strong enough to make it past a grand jury, and once it makes it to trial, he’s fucked. Not just a little fucked, major fucked. He has bad facts, like Ted Bundy and Jeff Dahmer’s love child bad.

The problem here is with actual cause in fact versus proximate cause, concepts more frequently associated with tort law but still found in criminal law. All of the examples you give are arguably a cause in fact of the decedent’s death, but none are proximate causes, and if the cause of death is not a proximate cause there is no crime. For example, if you convince me to eat mayonnaise instead of mustard on my sandwiches with the intent of killing me and I then die of heart disease 40 years later, even if mayonnaise is the cause in fact of my death it’s not the proximate cause - eating mayonnaise is sufficiently attenuated from the death 40 years later and not a reasonably foreseeable cause. Encouraging a blind man to step out into traffic is a cause in fact and proximate cause of his death. Cartman caused the Tenormans to take an action that he reasonably believed and intended to be an immediate cause of their deaths, it was, and then he bragged about it in detail in public as he fed their slaughtered, butchered, and cooked dead bodies to their own dear son in front of dozens of witnesses as he licked his tears. In my jurisdiction Cartman would be charged with two counts of capital murder, two counts of abuse of a corpse, two counts of tampering with evidence, and one count of assault, and all of the Wookies in the universe couldn’t save him.

Question about proximate cause. Must I be breaking the law for it to apply as a criminal violation? For example, I am speeding 10 mph over in a residential area and someone steps into the street from behind a car and I hit them. DA says it is vehicular homicide due to proximate cause. However, what if I’m driving the speed limit? Am I now immune from a proximate cause charge?

You don’t have to be breaking a specific law. Following the speed limit is not the only duty placed on motorists. You also have to maintain a reasonable awareness of your surroundings and the road conditions, blah blah blah. Your speeding can no longer be the proximate cause of the accident, since it doesn’t exist, but your driving might still be.

It helps if you don’t think of proximate cause as a test of causation at all. It’s a test of foreseeability, which is really an unrelated concept. Was it plausible that you would run over a pedestrian because you were [speeding] [failing to maintain your brakes] [not paying attention] [whatever]? If yes, then proximate cause is met.

Given the intent you might have a better chance of making a Depraved Indifference charge apply.

As this was my all time favourite episode I feel I must chime in with my $.02

Cartman is a minor, ( further underlined by the fact he bought an older boy’s pubes!) I believe he is a 3rd or 4th grader, and according to post 13 on this site


Age of culpability in Colarado is 10 years old. Thus Eric Cartman is free to pursue his dreams for a few more years.

“The Prosecution will show, that although the defendant claims to be a minor, he has made said claim for the past 17 years.”

:smiley: Well played.

Any particular reason why “negligent homicide” hasn’t been proffered yet as an option?

No – the episode is 13 years old. So at the time the episode aired, Cartman’s legal infancy status is not disproved by the subsequent passage of time.

Assumes facts not in evidence! Oh, and badgering!! Counsel is testifying, as well.:wink:

That objection should be overruled, since the fact is in evidence:


Heresy as well!!

I’m wondering if Comedy Central’s release schedule can be judicially noticed. Is the little infographic on the cable listings a readily verifiable source?

Did anyone call Shenanigans?

True, but Cartman claimed to be old enough for third grade back four years before the episode aired. As there is no record of him skipping a grade or similar circumstance, and his scholastic performance makes this unlikely, he was at least 8 years old by October of that year. Four years later, he would be at least 11 years of age (before his birthday).

I’d presume Colorado has some law against desecration of corpses, so there’s that.

Just watched this episode today.

One key point is that Cartman only guessed that Scott would tell his parents and that they would then go to the farm and be killed. He didn’t even tell Scott to tell his parents about the “abused” horse.

If he hadn’t bragged about what he did, he would be off scot-free (ouch!) in regards to killing the parents. Nobody could prove anything. (Corpse desecration and other crimes would still be in play.)

Does his bragging constitute enough evidence to convict him? I’m sure a smart lawyer can get it suppressed, then the 5th is invoked and the prosecution is stuck on that point.

The fact that Cartman is not punished for his crime suggests that something like this might have happened.:slight_smile:

Another legal problem Cartman could run into is the lies he told Radiohead to get them to travel to South Park. Certainly Radiohead could sue for expenses, the cost of the delay of mixing their album, etc. But I think criminal fraud also applies.

You know, lawyers aren’t magical. Declarations against interest are exceptions to the hearsay rule and I have a hard time imagining something more against someone’s interest than declaring that they just committed double homicide, desecrated two corpses, induced someone else to go all Titus Andronicus on their own parents, and exposed that person to the ridicule of a solidly B-list rock band.

(Someone else has mentioned this, but not as directly, and I really feel the need to respond to this.)

The evidence stands unless Officer Barbrady doubles as a judge, in which case you’d still have to deal with the prosecution appealing the case to get away from the poor legal judgments of an utterly incompetent (but no longer [del]illegitimate[/del] illiterate!) judge.

Are you talking about the case where the two helicopters hit each other, or did it happen another time? Because that guy wasn’t charged in the helicopter crash deaths.