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Name: People v. Cunningham
Case #: E063206
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/17/2016

Where doctors medically induced a coma to save the victim’s life, the evidence supported an enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury which caused the victim to become comatose. A jury convicted defendant of attempted murder (Pen. Code, §§ 664/187), robbery (Pen. Code, § 211), and found true that defendant inflicted great bodily injury which caused the victim to become comatose (Pen. Code, § 12022.7, subd. (b)). Defendant admitted a prior prison term enhancement (Pen. Code, § 667.5, subd. (c)) and two prior serious felonies (Pen. Code, § 667, subds. (a)(1), (c), (e)). He received life Three Strikes sentences plus a determinate term. On appeal, defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the great bodily injury enhancement because the victim’s coma had been medically induced. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 12022.7, subdivision (b) provides a five-year enhancement where a defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury which causes the victim to become comatose due to brain injury. For purposes of this enhancement, a victim is comatose if she is in a state characterized by profound unconsciousness. This enhancement applies whether the defendant causes the comatose state directly or indirectly by inflicting injuries that require doctors to induce a coma to treat a brain injury. In this case, there was substantial evidence that doctors sedated the victim to induce a complete lack of consciousness in order to save her life and repair damage done to her skull and brain by defendant. This is sufficient evidence to support the enhancement.

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