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Name: People v. Gonzalez
Case #: B149828
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 06/19/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 9/11/02.
Summary

The prosecution theory of this murder case was that appellant personally shot and killed a rival gang member, based mainly on the testimony of a fellow gang member, Lopez. Appellant testified that it was Lopez who murdered the victim. Appellant was convicted of first degree murder with the personal use of a firearm. On appeal, he argued that the trial court should have instructed sua sponte on the target offense of simple assault as a predicate for finding that Lopez was an accomplice on a natural and probable consequences aiding and abetting theory. The appellate court here affirmed. There was no sua sponte duty to instruct on target offenses in the context of prosecution based in part upon a natural and probable consequences aiding and abetting theory. If there is no sua sponte duty to instruct on target offenses as an element of a crime, there is no justification for requiring it in connection with accomplice liability.