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Name: People v. Lee
Case #: S094597
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/14/2003
Subsequent History: 10/22/03 Rehrg. denied

The Supreme Court in People v. Bright (1996) 12 Cal. 4th 652 held that Penal Code section 664, subdivision (a) does not create a greater degree of attempted murder for those attempted murders which are premeditated, but constitutes a penalty provision which increases the punishment for attempted murder beyond the maximum. Review was granted in this case to determine whether section 664(a) requires that an attempted murderer personally acted willfully and with deliberation and premeditation if she or he is guilty as an aider and abettor. Also, if section 664(a) so requires, then what is the standard of prejudice for a trial court’s failure to instruct the jury properly on that issue? The Court here concluded that section 664(a) does not require personal willfulness, deliberation and premeditation on the part of the attempted murderer, even if he or she is guilty as an aider and abettor, only that the attempted murder was conducted in such a manner. Therefore, the court did not address the applicable standard of prejudice. (Partial dissenting opinion by J. Kennard and Werdegar, who held that the legislative intent was not to bring an accomplice within the provisions when he has not personally acted with premeditation. However, the error was harmless in this case.)