Tag Archives: Special Circumstances


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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CSC Review Granted: Prejudicial Effect of Failure to Instruct on Intent to Kill Element for Accomplice Liability re: Multiple Murder Special Circumstance
August 5th, 2019

“Under California law, a person who aids and abets the commission of a crime is a ‘principal’ in the crime, and thus shares the guilt of the actual perpetrator.” (People v. Prettyman (1996) 14 Cal.4th 248, 259; People v. McCoy (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1111, 1116-1117; see § 31.) Therefore, “a person who aids and abets […]


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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 703: Felony Murder: Special Circumstance Liability — Factors Re: Major Participant Determination
September 16th, 2016

PC 190.2(d) was designed to codify the holding of Tison v. Arizona (1987) 481 U.S. 137 [95 L. Ed. 2d 127, 107 S. Ct. 1676], “which articulates the constitutional limits on executing felony murderers who did not personally kill.” (People v. Banks (2015) 61 Cal. 4th 788, 794.) “Tison and a prior decision on which […]


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Gang Special Circumstance
August 17th, 2015

  People v. Carr (2010) 190 Cal. App. 4th 475, 486, held that CC 736’s “inclusion of a knowledge element in the special circumstances of killing on behalf of a gang is not legally incorrect even if the statute itself does not expressly require its inclusion because it is constitutionally required.” Carr did note, however, […]


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Gang Special Circumstance: Predicate Offense Must Occur Before Charged Offense
February 1st, 2014

  People v. Duran (2002) 97 Cal. App. 4th 1448, 1458, [predicate offense cannot be satisfied by a crime which occurred after the charged offense].


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Felony Murder Special Circumstances: Required Elements
February 1st, 2014

  In a felony-murder special-circumstances case the judge has a duty to instruct that the defendant must (1) have personally had the intent to kill or (2) have been a major participant in the commission of the underlying felony and have acted with reckless indifference to human life. (People v. Mil (2012) 53 Cal. 4th […]


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