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Name: People v. Parras
Case #: F044512
Opinion Date: 06/19/2007
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Citation: 152 Cal.App.4th 219

Because the statute defining voluntary manslaughter based on imperfect self defense does not require intent to kill, clarification of the statute by case law permits retroactive application. In 1989, the victim died after being violently beaten. In 2002, appellant was identified as a possible suspect and charged with second degree murder. He was acquitted of the murder but convicted of the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter. Prior to People v. Blakeley (2000) 23 Cal.4th 82 and People v. Lasko (2000) 23 Cal.4th 101, it had been held that intent to kill was an essential element of voluntary manslaughter. Appellant here argued that the trial court erred in giving a current instruction for voluntary manslaughter based on homicide without a requisite finding of intent to kill because this Blakeley/Lasko retroactive application enlarged the crime of voluntary manslaughter. The appellate court found that because Lasko did not establish new law but only clarified the statutory definition of manslaughter, it applied to all pending cases. Blakeley, prohibiting retroactivity, was differentiated from Lasko as it dealt with imperfect self defense whereas Lasko dealt with heat of passion.