Luke William Hunt
University of Alabama
There are often public calls to codify moral sentiments after failures to help others, and recent tragedies have renewed interest in one’s legal duty to aid another. This Article examines the moral underpinnings and legitimacy of so-called “Bad Samaritan” laws—laws that criminalize failures to aid others in emergency situations. Part I examines the theoretical backdrop of duties imposed by Bad Samaritan laws, including their relationship with various moral duties to aid. This leads to the analysis in Part II, which examines two related questions that are raised when moving from moral to legal duties: First, on what ground does the state have the authority to dictate that one’s needs should be met in the way specified by a particular legal duty? Second, does a special relationship exist that legitimizes the establishment of such legal duties?
Keywords Punishment  Criminal Law  Rescue  Beneficence  Justice  Legal obligations  Political authority
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