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Name: People v. Moore
Case #: D071803
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/23/2018

Trial court did not err in refusing to instruct jury that voluntary intoxication is a defense to vandalism. After smoking a PCP laden marijuana cigarette earlier in the day, defendant went to a convenience store and became distraught when he entered a storeroom where his only available exit was through a parking garage. He damaged the storeroom and then caused extensive damage in the parking garage before the police arrived. A jury found the defendant guilty of possession of a controlled substance and two counts of vandalism (Pen. Code, § 594, subd. (a)) and found true an allegation that he caused damage of more than $400 within the meaning of section 594, subdivision (b)(1). He was placed on probation and appealed, arguing that the court erred by refusing to instruct the jury regarding voluntary intoxication as a defense to vandalism. Held: Affirmed. Penal Code section 29.4, subdivision (b) permits evidence of voluntary intoxication “solely on the issue of whether or not the defendant actually formed a required specific intent, or, when charged with murder, whether the defendant premeditated, deliberated, or harbored express malice aforethought.” Section 594, subdivision (a) proscribes maliciously defacing, damaging, or destroying property. In People v. Atkins (2001) 25 Cal.4th 76, the California Supreme Court held that arson (which requires “willfully and maliciously” setting fire to or burning a structure, forest land, or property) does not require any specific intent or mental state that can be negated by voluntary intoxication. The Court of Appeal here concluded that, as with the arson statute construed in Atkins, vandalism itself does not require any intent besides the intent to do the proscribed acts of defacing, damaging, or destroying property, and the term “maliciously” does not import any further specific intent or mental state. The vandalism statute defines a general intent crime and evidence of voluntary intoxication is inadmissible as a defense.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: