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Name: People v. Hovda
Case #: C058800
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/24/2009

CALCRIM No. 590 (pattern instruction on gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated) adequately conveys the equivalent of the required element of conscious indifference to consequences. A jury convicted appellant of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and the court separately found he had five prior DUI convictions. On appeal, he claimed that by deleting the qualifying adjective “conscious” to the final reference to “indifference” in the last sentence of CALCRIM No. 590, the instruction failed to advise the jury that it had to find that defendant was consciously indifferent to the consequences of his conduct, which he concluded was an essential element of gross negligence. The court disagreed, noting that the expression in the instruction telling the jury that gross negligence exists “if a reasonable person would have known that acting that way would create” the requisite risk, was sufficient as it was virtually the same language as that contained in People v. Watson (1981) 30 Cal.3d 290, 296, defining gross negligence.