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Name: People v. Jackson
Case #: H032539
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/22/2009

Reversal was required where the instruction on attempted criminal threats did not include the element of reasonable fear. Jackson was charged with making criminal threats, in violation of Penal Code section 422. The jury was instructed using the language of CALCRIM No. 1300, including the element that the victim’s fear must have been reasonable under the circumstances. However, when instructing on the lesser-included offense of attempted criminal threats, the jury was not instructed on the reasonableness element. The jury convicted Jackson of the lesser offense. On appeal, Jackson argued that the trial court’s instructions did not adequately apprise the jury of the factual elements required to support the lesser offense. The appellate court agreed, and concluded that in order to support a conviction for attempted criminal threat, the jury must find that the threat was conveyed so as to reasonably cause the victim to be in fear for his safety. The error here was reversible because the instruction allowed the jury to find Jackson guilty of the threats either because they found the threats reasonably caused the victims fear, or that the threats were so outlandish (“I’m going to blow your head off,” when the victims were already safely inside the house) that they would not have caused a reasonable person to have feared for his safety.