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Name: People v. Espiritu
Case #: B224887
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/28/2011
Subsequent History: opn. mod. on 10/14/2011
Summary

Once a jury has returned a “not true” finding on an enhancing allegation, the trial court violates Penal Code section 1161 by ordering the jury to review their findings and then recording a “true” finding on the same enhancing allegation. The jury found the defendant guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter and battery with serious bodily injury, but found “not true” the allegation that the defendant personally used a deadly weapon. The trial court decided that the not true finding was inconsistent with the finding that the defendant inflicted serious bodily injury. (As part of a domestic violence situation, the defendant claimed that his wife stabbed him first and they were wrestling over the knife when she was stabbed.) The issue was not forfeited by trial counsel’s failure to object, or in the alternative, it would be ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to object based on the clear language of section 1161. A trial court may not coerce a jury by requiring it to reconsider a verdict of acquittal. The enhancement finding was reversed.