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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: S167051
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/29/2010

An indiscriminate firing of one shot at a group of people, does not amount to the attempted murder of each person in the group. Appellant fired a single bullet at a group of seven police officers and a civilian because he mistook them as rival gang members. He was convicted of, inter alia, seven counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and an additional count of attempted murder as to the civilian. Appellant argued the facts supported only a single conviction of attempted murder. The appellate court affirmed, finding the shooting endangered the lives of all the people in the group. On review, the Supreme Court reversed. Attempted murder requires both the specific intent to kill someone (although not a particular target) and a direct, but ineffectual, act towards its accomplishment. So, to sustain seven separate attempted murder convictions, the prosecution had to prove the appellant intended to kill each victim. There was no evidence that appellant targeted multiple particular individuals, that he intended to kill two or more people with a single shot, or that he was prevented from firing additional shots by circumstances beyond his control. The court rejected the argument that the kill-zone theory approved in People v. Bland (2002) 28 Cal.4th 313, applies to the situation where a single shot is fired at a group of people.