Self Defense: Applicability When Defense Relies On Theory Of Accident
July 24th, 2015


People v. Villanueva (2008) 169 Cal. App.4th 41, 51, disagreed with the Related Issues portion of CC 510. Contrary to CC’s interpretation, People v. Curtis (1994) 30 Cal. App. 4th 1337, 1358-1359, did not categorically foreclose self-defense instructions when a defendant claims a killing was accidental. (See also People v. Elize (1990) 71 Cal. App. 4th 605.)


So long as there is substantial evidence supporting a defense, on request of the defense, the court must give an instruction on that defense. (People v. Panah (2005) 35 Cal. 4th 395  [Defendant’s testimony that killing was accidental should not foreclose self-defense instructions if other substantial evidence supports a finding of self-defense].)

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