PG X(H) Inconsistent Verdicts.
Appellate cases which have considered the question of inconsistent verdicts have generally upheld such verdicts (1) as the result of leniency; or (2) as not actually inconsistent. (See People v. Federico (81) 127 CA3d 20, 32-33 [179 CR 315]; People v. Calpito (70) 9 CA3d 212, 219 [88 CR 64].) PC 954 was designed to prevent reversal of a conviction supported by the evidence, where the jury may have acquitted on some counts as an exercise of leniency. However, inconsistent verdicts may be improper if the verdicts establish that no leniency was granted to the accused. (See People v. O’Connor (92) 8 CA4th 941, 948 [10 CR2d 530].)
Additionally, even though inconsistent verdicts are not barred under federal principles of collateral estoppel (U.S. v Powell (84) 469 US 57 [83 LEd2d 461; 105 SCt 471]), the unreliability of inconsistent verdicts implicates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the 8th Amendment in capital cases. (People v. Klingenberg (96) 665 NE2d 1370 [172 Ill.2d 270] [distinguishing Powell and holding that legally inconsistent verdicts are unreliable].)
Additionally, collateral estoppel under California law may preclude liability for inconsistent verdicts where the accused’s guilt is predicated upon his vicarious liability for the acts of an acquitted confederate. (See FORECITE F 3.02b.) [SeeBrief Bank # B-706 for additional briefing arguing that a kidnap-murder special circumstance must be stricken as inconsistent with the jury’s special verdict that first-degree murder was not committed in the commission of a kidnapping.]
Inconsistent Verdicts: Not Guilty Notation On Verdict Form Does Not Void Conviction Of Greater Offense. (See People v. Caird (98) 63 CA4th 578, 586-87 [73 CR2d 799] [improper verdict form under PC 1161 not reversible unless different verdict would be returned upon reconsideration].)