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Name: People v. Felton
Case #: E033333
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/13/2004
Subsequent History: 10/13/04 rhg. den.; 12/1/04 revw. den.
Summary

Felton struck his girlfriend’s one-month old daughter, pleaded guilty to child endangerment, and was placed on probation. Four months later, his girlfriend left the baby with him when she went to work. When she returned, the baby was seriously injured. In Felton’s trial for felony child endangerment, the trial court found that the mother was not an accomplice because she did not have the specific intent necessary to be an aider and abettor, and refused to give accomplice instructions. The appellate court here found that the trial court erred. For instructional purposes, an “accomplice” includes a co-perpetrator as well as an aider and abettor. There was substantial evidence that the mother, through the criminal negligence of leaving the baby with Felton, was a co-perpetrator of the offense, and had, in fact, already pleaded guilty to the offense. Therefore, the court should have given accomplice instructions. However, since the mother’s testimony was sufficiently corroborated, the error was harmless.