Tag Archives: Defenses and Defense Theories: Basic Principles

Mistake of Law as Defense Theory to Specific Intent Crime
October 4th, 2021

The court has a sua sponte duty to give CC 3411 if a defendant charged with a specific intent crime is appropriately relying on this defense or there is substantial evidence that a defendant’s good faith mistake of law provides a valid defense to a specific intent crime and the defense is not inconsistent with […]

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Dissenting Opinion Cogently Explains Basis for Defense Requested Pinpoint Instructions
May 29th, 2020

In People v. Ramirez (2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 305 the majority opinion concluded that the defendant’s request for pinpoint instructions related to voluntary manslaughter because one instruction was duplicative of CALCRIM No. 570 and another was argumentative. The dissenting opinion provides a good discussion of why the defense has the right to pinpoint instructions which “pinpoint […]

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Mens Rea and PTSD
August 22nd, 2016

People v. Herrera (2016) 247 CA4th 467 held that exclusion of psychiatric testimony regarding the defendant’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) required reversal of his murder conviction. PC 28 and 29 limit the use of mental disorder evidence to negate a defendant’s capacity to form any mental state is prohibited, but may be offered on the […]

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Aider And Abettor: Natural And Probable Consequences – Right To Pinpoint Instruction On Defense Theory That Non-Target Crime Was The Independent Product Of The Perpetrator’s Mind Outside Of, Or Foreign To, The Common Design
January 30th, 2015

  People v. Smith (2014) 60 Cal. 4th 603 eliminated an element of the natural and probable consequences liability which the prosecution was required to prove by CC 402. However, in so doing Smith provided a basis for a defense pinpoint instruction relating the natural and probable consequences doctrine to evidence that the perpetrator of […]

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