Felony Murder: Reckless Indifference” for Tison Finding Must Not Be Based On Defendant’s Actions After The Crime
September 3rd, 2019

In re Taylor (2019) 34 Cal. App. 5th 543 held that given the lack of evidence that defendant planned anything more dangerous than a garden-variety armed robbery, reckless disregard to the risk to human life, for purposes of the felony murder special circumstance under PC 190.2 (d), was not established by defendant’s actions after the murder, which included that he made no attempt to help the victim after he knew she was shot and instead helped the shooter flee, and that he made a callous comment about the victim when advising an accomplice not to tell anyone what happened.

“We hold that evidence of a defendant’s actions after a murder betraying an indifference to the loss of life does not, standing alone, establish that the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death.”  [Emphasis original.] Defendant made no attempt to render aid to the victim his co-defendant had shot, and the next day made an offensively callous remark about the victim.   “Because there is no other evidence that Taylor had such an intent when he participated in the attempted robbery, we grant his petition to vacate the special circumstance.” (Taylor at 546-47.)


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