Tag Archives: Mens Rea: Knowledge


Felony Murder Special Circumstance: Any One Tison Factor May, by Itself, Leave the Jurors with A Reasonable Doubt
December 23rd, 2020

CC 703 includes the following caveat regarding the specific factors listed for the jury’s consideration as to the reckless indifference and major participant allegations:   No one of these following factors is necessary, nor is any one of them necessarily enough, to determine whether the defendant [acted with reckless indifference to human life] [was a […]


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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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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 370 (Motive): Will Lay Jurors Understand the Subtle Difference Between Intent – Which Is an Element of the Charge – and Motive – Which Is Not?
March 14th, 2017

The CSC has suggested that lay jurors will readily understand the subtle distinction between intent – which is an element of many crimes – and motive – which is generally not an element …[A]lthough malice and certain intents and purposes are elements of the crimes, as the court correctly instructed the jury, motive is not […]


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Motive Instruction: Clarification Of Problematic Burden Shifting Language
March 14th, 2017

As revised in August 2016, CALCRIM 370 provides as follows: The People are not required to prove that the defendant had a motive to commit (any of the crimes/the crime) charged. In reaching your verdict you may, however, consider whether the defendant had a motive. Having a motive may be a factor tending to show that the defendant […]


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Stalking Instruction Upheld But Has Possible Problem
September 4th, 2015

The language of CC 1301 was upheld against several challenges in People v. Ibarra (2007) 156 Cal. App. 4th 1174, 1195-1197. In Ibarra, the Court of Appeal also rejected a request for a unanimity instruction noting that stalking always involves a continuous course of conduct over a period of time. (Id. at 1198.) The Court […]


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Hit and Run: Knowledge Element
August 10th, 2014

  When supported by substantial evidence, the defense has the right, upon request, to a defense theory instruction which focuses on the prosecution’s burden to prove that the defendant actually knew of the injury or if he knew that the accident was of such a nature that one would reasonably anticipate that it resulted in […]


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