Tag Archives: Murder

Lying in Wait Special Circumstance: Judge Was Required to Sua Sponte Instruct on Circumstantial Evidence
November 2nd, 2018

In People v. Sandoval (2015) 62 Cal.4th 394 the CSC reversed the lying in wait special circumstance because the trial judge failed to sua sponte instruct, per CJ 8.83 or CJ 8,83.1 that between two reasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence, the jury must choose the inference pointing to innocence: “We … conclude that the prosecution’s […]

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CC 548: Murder Alternative Theories — 2016 Revision
September 7th, 2016

Prior to 2016 CC 548 simply informed the jurors that: “You do not need to agree on the same theory [of murder].” However, in People v. Sanchez (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1012, 1025 recognized that giving such an instruction may be reversible error if the different theories of guilt result in different degrees of guilt: Unanimity […]

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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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Error to Instruct on Felony Murder, but Not Malice Murder, its Lesser Included Offenses, or the Defenses of Accident and Self-defense
August 8th, 2016

In People v. Gonzalez , District: 2 DCA , Division: 4 , Case #: B255375 the prosecutor charged appellants with malice murder but tried the case solely on a felony murder theory. The trial court did not instruct the jury on malice murder, its LIOs, or the defenses of accident and self-defense. “[U]nder the accusatory […]

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Is the Erroneous Failure to Instruct on Malice Murder Always Harmless Error When the Jury Finds the Defendant Guilty of First Degree Murder?
August 5th, 2016

People v. Campbell (2015) 233 CA4th 148, suggested that a jury’s guilty verdict on felony murder and its true finding on a robbery special circumstance allegation do not render the failure to instruct on LIOs of malice murder harmless under Watson: While in the present case we are not dealing with the failure to give […]

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Voluntary Intoxication Resulting in Unconsciousness Instruction Not Applicable To Second Degree Murder Due To Drunk Driving
January 20th, 2014

  People v. Ferguson (2011) 194 Cal. App. 4th 1070, 1082, held that although voluntary intoxication resulting in unconsciousness will normally reduce second degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, it does not do so in the context of drunk driving because the manslaughter statute states it is inapplicable “to acts committed in the driving of a […]

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