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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: A108482
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/18/2006

The trial court erred in failing to instruct sua sponte on second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter as lesser included offenses of murder when there was substantial evidence from which the jury might have rejected the prosecution’s felony-murder theory but convicted the defendant of aiding and abetting a lesser homicide. The prosecution argued that California law had long held a judge may instruct that the crime is felony-murder or nothing, but caselaw contains no such broad rule for cases where a felony-murder conclusion would be disputable. The Court of Appeal therefore reversed the first-degree murder conviction. The court rejected the defendant’s arguments for full reversal, holding that: (i) a partially inaudible audiotape of a police interview could not be the subject of record settlement proceedings, because Rules of Court, rule 32.3 applies only to completion of “oral proceedings” in the trial court and not to evidence of statements taken months earlier; (ii) the defendant’s statement “I need a lawyer,” was not a Miranda invocation of counsel when it was made while the officers were standing outside the door, and there was no evidence the officers heard her or that the statement was made in a manner likely to be heard; (iii) substantial evidence supported the trial judge’s ruling that the defendant did not tell the officers “Please don’t talk to me,” even though this statement was in the police transcript, and the “settled statement” could not be relied upon to support the police transcript because it shouldn’t have been prepared in the first place.