Death Penalty; Factor B (Other Violent Conduct) – Judge Decides Whether Prior Conduct is:
July 30th, 2018

In People v. Manibusan (2013) 58 Cal.4th 40 the California Supreme Court held that although the jury decides whether alleged acts of other violent criminal activity (PC 190.4 (b)) occurred, “the characterization of those acts as involving an express or implied use of force of violence, or the threat thereof, is a legal matter for the court to decide.”  Further, while conceding “that possession of a weapon ‘is not, in every circumstance, an act committed with actual or implied force or violence,’ and that ‘[t]he factual circumstances surrounding the possession’ must ‘indicate an implied threat of violence’ [citation omitted]”, it was for the trial court to make that determination, not the jury.  Moreover, the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court’s finding that defendant’s possession of guns, ammunition and knives demonstrated an implied threat of violence based on the nature of the weapons and the similarities between the circumstances of the incident and the capital murder. (50 C4th at 96.)

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