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Name: People v. Johnson
Case #: B152162
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/16/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 7/24/02.
Summary

Appellant was convicted of second degree murder. The jury was instructed on the elements of first and second degree murder, and on voluntary and involuntary manslaughter based on self defense and imperfect self defense. Since the offense took place prior to June 2, 2000, the trial court instructed on the basis of the law as it existed prior to Lasko and Blakely, which required an intent to kill for voluntary manslaughter. On appeal, appellant contended that the trial court erred when it failed to instruct the jury that voluntary manslaughter does not require an intent to kill, and that the error was prejudicial since the jury found appellant guilty of ssecond degree murder, which must have been based on a finding that appellant acted with implied malice and without intent to kill. The appellate court here affirmed. In cases involving conduct committed prior to June 2, 2000, notwithstanding Lasko, the jury must beinstructed in accordance with Blakeley than an unintentional killing in unreasonable self-defense is involuntary manslaughter, not voluntary manslaughter. Therefore, the jury was properly instructed. Nor did the instruction deny appellant his right to consideration of the imperfect self-defense theory. The instructions told the jury that killing in unreasonable self-defense was not murder. By finding him guilty of second degree murder, the jury clearly rejected the defense.