Return to CALJIC Part 3-4 – Contents
F 4.20 n1 Intoxication: “No Excuse” And “Negation Of Intent” Instructions Should Not Be Given Together Without Explanation.
It is error to give CJ 4.20, which prohibits the application of the defense of intoxication to a general intent crime, in a case involving a specific intent crime. (People v. Spencer (63) 60 C2d 64, 87 [31 CR 782]; People v. Rivera (84) 162 CA3d 141, 145 [207 CR 756]; see also State v. Crespin (74) 526 P2d 1282 [86 NM 689] [an instruction that voluntary drunkenness is no excuse or justification for crime is erroneous for use in a specific intent offense]; People v. Kelley (70) 176 NW2d 435 [21 Mich.App 612] [principle that, as a matter of law, voluntary intoxication may not be shown to establish that defendant did not entertain general intent necessary to commit crime should not be stated in jury instructions unless defendant injects intoxication defense before jury and defense is not available either because crime charged is not specific intent crime or as matter of law there is insufficient evidence of intoxication]; State v. Potter (UT 1981) 627 P2d 75 [instruction that person in voluntarily produced state of intoxication may not “use his own vice” as shelter against legal consequences of his conduct, without being explicitly confined to general intent crime of aggravated assault, was confusing and could have misled jury in prosecution for such crime and specific intent crimes and thus constituted error prejudicial to defendant which deprived him of a fair trial]; see also FORECITE F 4.20 n3.) Moreover, even if CJ 4.21, which relates intoxication to specific intent, is also given the error is not cured without explaining that CJ 4.21 is an exception to the general rule embodied in CJ 4.20. (Rivera 162 CA3d at 145.) [A copy of the opinion in People v. Arroyo UNPUBLISHED (D013522), which reversed on this issue, is available to FORECITE subscribers. Ask for Opinion Bank # O-120.]
[Research Note: See FORECITE BIBLIO 4.20]
F 4.20 n2 Expert Testimony As To Combined Effects Of Alcohol And Cocaine.
In People v. Coyle (94) 22 CA4th 1679, 1684-85 [28 CR2d 488], the court held that a forensic expert on alcohol and cocaine use may offer an opinion as to the substances’ combined effects despite absence of clinical studies on that issue.
[Research Note: See FORECITE BIBLIO 4.20]
F 4.20 n3 Intoxication Not A Defense: Error To Give In Specific Intent/Malice Cases.
CJ 4.20 is obviously erroneous when given in a prosecution for a crime such as murder, which requires a mental state such as malice and a specific intent to kill. (See People v. Cameron (94) 30 CA4th 591, 600 [36 CR2d 656].) Moreover, the instruction acts to prevent the jury from considering the factual question of whether the defendant, due to voluntary intoxication, did or did not form the requisite mental state. (Cameron, 30 CA4th at 600.) Accordingly, when the evidence presents a factual issue as to whether the offense was murder or manslaughter, such an error cannot be considered harmless. (Id., at 602; but see People v. Hughes (2002) 27 C4th 287 [116 CR2d 401] [jury was adequately informed, without defendant’s proposed special instruction, that unconsciousness does not require that a person be incapable of movement].)
(See also FORECITE F 4.20 n1.)
F 4.20 n4 Error To Give CJ 4.20 In Specific Intent Crime.
It is error to give CJ 4.20, which prohibits the application of the defense of intoxication in a general intent crime, in a case involving a specific intent crime. (People v. Spencer (63) 60 C2d 64, 87 [31 CR 782]; People v. Rivera (84) 162 CA3d 141, 145 [207 CR 756]; compare People v. Martin (2000) 78 CA4th 1107 [93 CR2d 433] [court did not err in instructing with CJ 4.20 that voluntary intoxication is not a defense to general intent crimes].) The jury may consider evidence of voluntary intoxication in determining whether a specific intent or requisite mental state has been proven. (See People v. Mendoza (98) 18 C4th 1114 [77 CR2d 428]; see also People v. Ramirez (90) 50 C3d 1158, 1179 [270 CR 286]; People v. Saille (91) 54 C3d 1103, 1120-21 [2 CR2d 364].) Additionally, instructing the jury with CJ 4.21 does not cure the error because the jury is not likely to understand that CJ 4.21 is an exception to the general rule embodied in CJ 4.20. (Rivera, at 162 CA3d at 145; see also People v. Cameron (94) 30 CA4th 591, 599-602 [36 CR2d 656]; People v. Hughes (2002) 27 C4th 287 [116 CR2d 401] [first paragraph of CJ 4.20, informing jury that “no act” is less criminal due to defendant’s voluntary intoxication, is potentially misleading when paired with CJ 4.21, informing the jury that intoxication may negate the specific intent required for the crimes of burglary, robbery, and murder].) [Additional briefing on this issue is available to FORECITE subscribers, ask for Brief Bank # B-761.]
Additionally, it is error to give CJ 4.20 in a case involving both specific and general intent. Instead, CJ 4.21.1 should be given in such cases. [See Brief Bank # B-779 and Opinion Bank # O-246 for briefing and an unpublished opinion reversing on this point.]
NOTE: CJ 4.21.1 may be subject to challenge as confusing, inaccurate and improperly shifting the burden of proof. See FORECITE F 4.21.1 n1.
Clarification Regarding PC 190.3(h) In Capital Trial
*Add to CJ 4.20 when given at penalty phase of capital trial:
However, notwithstanding the above, you are authorized to consider the defendant’s voluntary intoxication as a mitigating circumstance under the instructions upon which I [have] [will] instruct[ed] you.
Points and Authorities
Because CJ 4.20 may be read to preclude consideration of voluntary intoxication as a mitigating factor (e.g., under Factor (a) to mitigate the circumstances of the crime; Factor (h); or Factor (k)), a clarifying instruction should be given on request. (See People v. Holloway (2004) 33 C4th 96, 154 [no error because clarifying instruction was not requested].)