Tag Archives: CC 540B


Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Knowledge of Reckless Indifference — Must Precede Act of Aiding and Abetting
December 21st, 2020

PC 190.2 (d) provides that, “for the purposes of those special circumstances based on the enumerated felonies in paragraph (17) of subdivision (a), which include robbery and burglary, an aider and abettor must have been a “major participant” and have acted “with reckless indifference to human life…’.” (People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 609.) […]


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Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Reckless Indifference — Consciousness of Guilt Not Alone Sufficient to Prove Guilt or Supply Missing Elements
December 18th, 2020

CC 703 invites the jurors to consider the defendant’s actions after the crime in determining the “reckless indifference” by telling the jurors that they may consider the following specific factor: “Did the defendant have an opportunity … to help the victim(s)?” However, the defendant’s post-crime actions are not alone sufficient to prove reckless indifference. “…[A] […]


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CALCRIM’s Failure to Define the Term “Actual Killer” Erroneously Allows the Jurors to Conclude That an Aider and Abettor Can Be an “Actual Killer”
October 10th, 2020

CC 703 requires the jury to find the Enmund/Tison requirements only if they find that the defendant was not “the actual killer….” However, the term “actual killer” is not defined in CC 703 or anywhere else in the CALCRIM instructions.   This is a critical omission because the legislature did not intend the term “actual […]


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CALCRIM 730 Omits The Required Tison/Enmund Elements
October 5th, 2020

Under Enmund v. Florida (1982) 458 U.S. 782, 797 the federal Constitution requires an aider and abettor to capital murder to have the intent to kill, and California’s death penalty law permits the jury to find the felony-murder special-circumstance allegation true without finding an intent to kill. But, in Tison v. Arizona (1987) 481 U.S. […]


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Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Knowledge Elements May Be Negated by Mental Impairment
September 17th, 2020

PC 190.2 (d) provides that, “for the purposes of those special circumstances based on the enumerated felonies in paragraph (17) of subdivision (a), which include robbery and burglary, an aider and abettor must have been a “major participant” and have acted “with reckless indifference to human life…’.” (People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 609.) […]


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Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Knowledge Elements May Be Negated by Intoxication
September 12th, 2020

PC 190.2 (d) provides that, “for the purposes of those special circumstances based on the enumerated felonies in paragraph (17) of subdivision (a), which include robbery and burglary, an aider and abettor must have been a “major participant” and have acted “with reckless indifference to human life…’.” (People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 609.) […]


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CC 540B Factors Relevant to Whether Defendant Acted with Reckless Indifference to Human Life
March 4th, 2020

People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 614-620 identified certain factors to guide the jury in its determination of whether the defendant acted with reckless indifference to human life but did not hold that the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on those factors. Clark noted that these factors had been applied by […]


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CC 540B Factors Relevant to Whether Defendant Acted with Reckless Indifference to Human Life
March 4th, 2020

People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522, 614-620 identified certain factors to guide the jury in its determination of whether the defendant acted with reckless indifference to human life but did not hold that the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on those factors. Clark noted that these factors had been applied by […]


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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 […]


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CALCRIM Proposes Changes to Felony Murder/Accomplice Instructions Per SB 1437 to Be Effective September 24, 2019
June 14th, 2019

The proposed modifications are summarized in an “Invitation to Comment” (5/28 – 7/5/19; CALCRIM-2019-01). The proposed effective date of the changes is 9/24/19. CALCRIM summarizes the proposed felony murder/accomplice changes as follows:   Senate Bill No. 1437 (2017-2018 Reg. Sess.) substantially changed accomplice liability for felony murder. Malice may no longer be imputed simply from […]


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