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Name: People v. Caesar
Case #: D050387
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/19/2007
Subsequent History: rev. granted 9/19/07, S154793
Summary

The aider and abetter was improperly convicted of premeditated attempted murder where the actual perpetrator was found to have acted without premeditation. Following a confrontation between two groups of men in which guns were fired, Godbolt and Caesar were tried together for murder and attempted murder. Godbolt, a shooter, was convicted of one count of second degree murder and four counts of unpremeditated attempted murder. Caesar, who was not a shooter, was tried on the theory that he aided and abetted an assault and battery, the natural and probable consequences of which were the crimes committed by Godbolt. He was convicted of one count of second degree murder and three counts of unpremeditated attempted murder. On appeal, Caesar argued that his conviction for attempted premeditated murder should be reduced to attempted unpremeditated murder because Godbolt was convicted of unpremeditated attempted murder. The appellate court agreed and reduced that count. Applying the natural and probable consequences doctrine, in order to find Caesar guilty of attempted premeditated murder, the jury had to find that he aided and abetted the assault and battery, and that Godbolt committed an attempted premeditated murder which was a natural and probable consequence of the assault and battery. Here, the second element was missing because the jury made an explicit finding that Godbolt did not act with premeditation.