In an opinion announced on Thursday, September 20th, People v. Nere, the Illinois Supreme discussed and quoted extensively a law review article by Professor Eric Johnson: Cause-in-Fact After Burrage v. United States, 68 Fla. L. Rev. 1727 (2016). In his article, Professor Johnson urged state courts not to follow Burrage v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 881 (2014), where the Supreme Court held that the criminal statutes generally require proof of so-called “but-for causation,” even in cases of causal overdetermination. Professor Johnson urged the state courts to hold instead that the cause-in-fact requirement is satisfied by proof of causal “contribution.”
The Illinois Supreme Court relied heavily on Professor Johnson’s article in unanimously rejecting Burrage and opting instead for the “contributing cause” approach. The court devoted several pages of its opinion to a discussion of Professor Johnson’s article, saying: “We discuss this article at length because it details thoroughly the problems with Burrage and convinces us that our contributing cause approach is the correct one.”
Read the full opinion.