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Name: People v. Rodarte
Case #: B239963
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/13/2014
Summary

The doctrine of imperfect self-defense does not apply to the offense of shooting from a motor vehicle (Pen. Code, § 26100, subd. (c)). At different times, appellant and the victim were both involved with Manzo, who had a child by each man. On December 23, 2008, appellant shot the victim from his car, seriously injuring him. At trial, appellant claimed that he was afraid the victim had a weapon and was going to harm him. Appellant was convicted of attempted murder and shooting from a motor vehicle (former Pen. Code, § 12034, subd. (c), now Pen. Code, § 26100, subd. (c)). The jury found true weapons and injury enhancements. On appeal, appellant contended that the court erred by refusing to instruct on imperfect self-defense as a defense to the shooting from a vehicle offense. Held: Affirmed. The crime of shooting from a vehicle is a general intent crime that requires proof that the defendant “willfully and maliciously” discharged a firearm from a motor vehicle. The malice required for a section 26100, subdivision (c) offense is the wish to vex, annoy, or injure another person, not the “malice aforethought” required to prove murder. The imperfect self-defense theory applies when a person actually believes he must defend himself from imminent danger of death or great bodily injury but the belief is unreasonable. This doctrine negates the malice aforethought element of murder, which is the awareness that one’s conduct does not conform to the expectations of society. In contrast, the malice element in section 26100, subdivision (c) connotes a knowing violation of societal norms and is likely to be present even when the person acts in reasonable self-defense. Because shooting from a vehicle requires only the general concept of malice and not malice aforethought, an instruction on imperfect self-defense would be inappropriate.