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Name: People v. Robinson
Case #: E056791
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/08/2014

Simple mayhem (Pen. Code, § 203) is a lesser included offense of aggravated mayhem (Pen. Code, § 205). Robinson poured four quarts of scalding water over her husband’s head while he sat on the couch because he “took better care” of his illegitimate child than he did of her. Her husband suffered second degree burns to his face, neck, shoulders, back, stomach, and thigh. Robinson was charged and convicted of many offenses including both aggravated mayhem (Pen. Code, § 205) and simple mayhem (Pen. Code, § 203). She appealed, arguing that she could not be convicted of both offenses because simple mayhem is a lesser included offense of aggravated mayhem. Held: Simple mayhem conviction reversed. To determine whether an offense is a lesser included of another, the court applies the statutory elements test. “Under that test, if the statutory elements of the greater offense include all of the statutory elements of the lesser offense, such that the greater offense cannot be committed without also committing the lesser offense, the latter is necessarily included in the former.” (People v. Reed (2006) 38 Cal.4th 1224, 1230.) Based on the legislative history of section 205 as well as recent interpretations of the scope of injury covered by section 203 (see People v. Santana (2013) 56 Cal.4th 999, 1003-1004), the Court of Appeal concluded that sections 203 and 205 penalize the same types of injuries even though the statutes do not use identical language. “[A]n act which ‘deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless’ (§ 203) cannot be distinguished from ’causes permanent disability or disfigurement of another human being or deprives a human being of a limb, organ, or member of his or her body’ (§ 205), except by the intent and mental state with which the act is committed.”