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Name: People v. Romero
Case #: D047175
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/29/2007
Summary

Where appellant claimed self defense, the victim’s statements that appellant had previously threatened to kill her were admissible under Evidence Code section 1250. Appellant was charged with murder, and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The defense at trial was that the victim, appellant’s lover, initiated a violent quarrel, and that during the quarrel appellant “lost it” and stabbed the victim six times. On appeal, appellant contended that the trial court erred in admitting statements attributed to the victim by a third party. The victim stated that appellant was jealous and threatened to kill her if she ever found her with another man. The appellate court found no error. In light of the defense, the victim’s fears were relevant. Therefore her statements were admissible under Evidence Code section 1250 (evidence offered to show a declarant’s state of mind). Further, because the jury must have accepted appellant’s version of the events in order to return an involuntary manslaughter verdict, admission of the statements did not prejudice appellant. Nor was admission of the statements a violation of the confrontation clause. Where a defendant has killed the hearsay declarant, the defendant forfeits his right to raise a confrontation clause objection. The trial court also properly refused appellant’s burden of proof instruction as duplicative of what was covered in other self-defense instructions and burden of proof instructions.