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Name: People v. Leal
Case #: S114399
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/05/2004

Appellant was convicted of two violations of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (b)(1). The jury was instructed according to CALJIC 10.42 that the term “duress” as defined by the statute means a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship or retribution. On appeal, appellant argued that the trial court erred by defining duress to include a direct or implied threat of hardship. The Court of Appeal affirmed, declining to follow the contrary holding in People v. Valentine. The Supreme Court granted review to resolve the conflict, and in this opinion affirmed. The 1993 amendments to the rape and spousal rape statutes, which deleted the term “hardship” from the definition of duress, did not alter the previously existing definition of duress as used in section 288, subdivision (b)(1), which did, and continues to, include a threat of hardship. The Legislature specifically altered the definition of rape and spousal rape; had it intended for this definition to also apply to other sex offenses, it could easily have said so. Including hardship in the definition of duress does not make the definition overly vague. J. Kennard dissented.