Destructive Device: Definition Not Required
December 4th, 2015

People v. Adams (2009) 170 Cal App. 4th 893, held that a court has no sua sponte duty to define “destructive device” beyond the definition provided in PC 16460(a)(5). The Court of Appeal affirmed a conviction for offering to sell a destructive device where the trial court used CC 2575, an instruction identical to CC 2570 used for the more common crime of possession of a destructive device.


The reviewing court rejected the defense argument that the court had a sua sponte duty to define “breakable” because, “[t]he term ‘breakable’ is not a technical term; persons of common intelligence know what ‘breakable’ means.” The Court of Appeal approved giving the jury the definition of “destructive device” derived from PC 16460 in conjunction with CC 2575.

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