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Name: People v. Shabazz
Case #: S131048
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/27/2006

A prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment for first degree murder was also subject to a sentence enhancement of 25 years to life, and the special circumstance set forth in Penal Code section 190.2, subdivision (a)(22), applies where a defendant discharges a firearm with the intent to kill one party but misses and kills a bystander. Subdivision (a)(22) authorizes imposition of a punishment of death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole upon an active participant of a criminal street gang who “intentionally killed the victim” to further the activities of the gang. The court held that the jury properly found this special circumstance true where the defendant harbored the requisite intent but the bullet hit the wrong party, because the court found no compelling reason for not applying the well-established doctrine of transferred intent to the special circumstances context. The court further found that the enhancement under Penal Code section 12022.53, subdivision (d), may be imposed where the defendant’s sentence for the underlying felony is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. A contrary result would contravene both the plain language and the legislative intent underlying section 12022.53 as a whole, and would exempt more serious offenders from a punishment imposed upon less serious offenders.