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Name: People v. Her
Case #: C058443
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/26/2010

CALCRIM No. 522 does not impermissibly suggest that the jury must first make a finding of murder before it can consider voluntary manslaughter as a lesser offense. In this case, the court instructed on murder and voluntary manslaughter. The appellate court found that the instructions as a whole clearly conveyed that the alleged crime could be murder only if it is not voluntary manslaughter. Additionally, although the jury-deliberation instructions and completion-of-verdict-forms instructions did not require a jury to conduct its deliberations in any certain manner, the court found no error because they did not give the jury the impression that it could convict of murder without considering voluntary manslaughter instead.
CALCRIM No. 604 erroneously requires that to find voluntary manslaughter, the jury must find that defendant believed he was in imminent danger and immediate use of deadly force was necessary and the two beliefs were unreasonable, because the unreasonableness of either belief is sufficient to transform perfect self-defense into imperfect self-defense. Here, although the appellate court agreed CALCRIM No. 604 was erroneous, it found no prejudice because the instructions, considered as a whole, adequately instructed on the elements of the crimes in question.