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Name: People v. Oropeza
Case #: D047879
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/23/2007

Trial court did not err when it failed to instruct on self defense and voluntary manslaughter, where there was no evidence that appellant shot the victim in self defense, and the provocation was not sufficient to justify decreased culpability. Appellant was involved in an incident of road rage, which resulted in a shooting. He was convicted of first degree murder, attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited vehicle, and discharging a firearm from a vehicle. On appeal he argued that the trial court erred when it denied his request to instruct on self defense, and on the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter based on heat of passion and imperfect self defense. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that there was no evidence of self defense. Appellant did not testify and made no out of court statements which indicated that he felt he needed to defend himself. There were no witnesses who testified he fired out of fear or appeared fearful. The evidence presented suggested only that appellant fired the shot in an act of aggression. Nor did the trial court err when it refused to instruct on voluntary manslaughter. Although there was evidence appellant acted in the heat of passion because his truck was cut off, an ordinarily reasonable person might not be angered by the act sufficient to provoke him to shoot. While appellant showed an “abundance of human weakness,” it was not of the type such that the law is willing to declare his acts less culpable.