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Name: People v. Bland
Case #: S097340
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/01/2002
Subsequent History: None
Summary

Appellant shot at three persons, killing one and injuring the other two. A jury convicted him of one first degree murder and two premeditated attempted murders. It also found true sentence enhancement allegations that appellant intentionally and personally discharged a firearm and proximately caused great bodily injury or death. (Penal Code section 12022.53(d).) The Court of Appeal reversed the two attempted murder convictions, finding that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury on the doctrine of transferred intent. It also reversed the remaining 12022.53(d) enhancement because the court prejudicially erred in not defining proximate causation. The Supreme Court granted the Attorney General’s petition for review. Here the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the convictions and enhancements. The doctrine of transferred intent applies even when the person kills the intended target. However, it applies only to murders, not to a crime like attempted murder. A person who intends to kill only one is guilty of the murder of that one, but not also of the attempted murder of others the person did not intend to kill. Therefore, whether appellant was guilty of attempted murder depended on his mental state as to those victims and not on his mental state as to the intended victim. Here, however, the instruction given referred to a mistaken killing, not to injuries. It did not allow the jury to transfer intent to someone who was only injured. Further, the evidence supported the conclusion that appellant intended to kill all the persons in the car. Therefore, the instructions correctly stated the law and were not prejudicial.