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Name: People v. Padilla
Case #: F037946
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/08/2002
Subsequent History: Rehrg. den. 12/9/22; Rev. den. 1/22/03
Summary

The Court of Appeal found that the court erred in a jury trial on a charge of first degree murder in excluding the testimony of two psychologists that the defendant suffered from hallucinations that the victim had killed the defendant’s father and brothers. This evidence was not admissible in support of voluntary manslaughter under a heat of passion theory because provocation is judged by an objective standard of the passions of an ordinary person. Also under People v. Saille (1991) 54 Cal.3d 1103, diminished actuality will not reduce the offense to non-statutory manslaughter. But the evidence was admissible on the question of the degree of murder, as the hallucinations may have provoked a heat of passion such that defendant did not deliberate or premeditate so as to reduce first degree to second degree murder. As no other evidence was presented on this point, it could be said that the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The People were given the option to either retry the case or accept a conviction of second degree murder.