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Name: People v. Cross
Case #: H027519
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/28/2005
Subsequent History: Review Granted 3/1/06: S139791
Summary

Appellant was convicted of non forcible sex offenses with his 13-year-old stepdaughter. The stepdaughter became pregnant and had a surgical abortion of the five and a half months old fetus. The jury found true an enhancement for the infliction of great bodily injury (g.b.i.). On appeal, appellant argued that there was insufficient evidence that he personally inflicted great bodily injury by means of the abortion. The appellate court rejected the argument. In determining what constitutes g.b.i., the jury may consider what medical intervention the victim received. Further, the trial court did not err when it failed sua sponte to instruct the jury on the meaning of the term “personally inflict.” The court was not required to explain these terms, which are commonly understood. Nor did it err when it failed to sua sponte instruct that the jury must be unanimous regarding which condition – the pregnancy or the abortion – constituted g.b.i. There was no room for disagreement that appellant’s single crime, having sex with his stepdaughter, was the act which caused the injury. Due process was served by the requirement that the jury render a unanimous verdict on the penalty enhancement, whether or not it agreed on the theory underlying that finding. Further, appellant’s prison sentence of 15-years to life was not cruel and unusual punishment. The Legislature specifically intended appellant’s offense to result in such a sentence under the one-strike law. Considering the totality of circumstances, the punishment did not shock the conscience or offend principles of human dignity.