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Name: People v. Bell
Case #: G041051
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/19/2009

Conviction reversed where kidnap instructions did not tell jury to consider whether movement of victim was substantial or merely incidental to the intended crime. During Bell’s trial for kidnaping and other offenses, the court gave the jury CALCRIM No. 1215, the standard instruction for simple kidnapping, but denied Bell’s request to include a bracketed portion of the instruction which would have prohibited the jury from convicting if the movement of the victim was merely incidental to his reckless flight from the police. On appeal, Bell argued that the court erred by failing to include the bracketed portion of the instruction. The appellate court agreed, but also held that CALCRIM No. 1215 does not accurately reflect the law of simple kidnaping as explained in People v. Martinez (1999) 20 Cal.4th 225, and therefore had the potential to mislead the jury. Martinez required that the jury had to be instructed to consider whether the distance a victim was moved was incidental to the commission of the crime in determining the movement’s substantiality. Therefore reversal was required with instructions to reword the CALCRIM instruction in any retrial.