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Name: People v. Newby
Case #: C057444
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/29/2008

CALCRIM No. 800, delineating the elements of aggravated mayhem, properly instructs that a disfiguring injury may be permanent even if it can be repaired by medical procedures. A jury convicted appellant of, inter alia, aggravated mayhem after he kicked his girlfriend so severely that he pushed her nose into her nasal cavity and shattered several facial bones including those supporting the nose. The victim had to have reconstructive surgery and a titanium plate was inserted into the wall of her nose to provide support previously provided by the shattered bones. Appellant argued on appeal that CALCRIM No. 800 was flawed in instructing a “disfiguring injury may be permanent even if it can be repaired by medical procedures” because it lessens the burden of proof on the element of permanence of the disability or disfigurement required to sustain a conviction for aggravated mayhem. Appellant contended that since the aggravated mayhem statute contained the word “permanent” and the simple mayhem statute did not, the injury for the former had to be more permanent than for the latter. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument. Both simple mayhem and aggravated mayhem require a permanent disfiguring injury. The difference between the offenses is one of intent. And case law has consistently held the fact that advances in medical technology may cosmetically repair injuries is no bar to a finding of permanent injury. (People v. Hill (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1566, People v. Williams (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1767.) So, CALCRIM No. 800 properly states the law.