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Name: People v. Butler
Case #: F032595
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/18/2000
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 3/14/01

The evidence here was sufficient to sustain a conviction for making terrorist threats in violation of Penal Code section 422. The victim was aware that her neighbors were in fear because defendant had been terrorizing them. Defendant then told the victim of his willingness and intent to hurt her if she did not mind her own business. Defendant bragged about his gang “owning” the apartments in which the victim lived. He demeaned the victim by calling her names, and his group surrounded her while she was alone. While this alone was sufficient, there was more evidence: defendant followed the victim to her apartment and tried to stop her from entering. He threatened to get a gun and kill everyone inside. He forcibly entered her home and knocked down her young daughter. He assaulted one guest with a knife, and physically assaulted two guests. This conduct showed defendant intended his statement to be interpreted as a threat, and it was so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific as to convey a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat. Section 422 does not require that the perpetrator identify a specific crime, nor does it require that the jury be instructed on the elements of such a crime. Neither the case law nor the legislative history would support such a view, and CALJIC 9.94 properly sets forth the elements of the crime the jury was required to find to convict defendant of violating section 422. Requesting any supplemental instructions to CALJIC 9.94 should be left to the parties, and ruling on whether those instructions would be helpful should be left to the trial judge.