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Name: People v. Szadziewicz
Case #: B191683
Opinion Date: 04/01/2008
Division: 8
Citation: 161 Cal.App.4th 823
Summary

There was sufficient evidence of mayhem where defendant held the victim down and repeatedly slashed his face. Appellant sliced the victim’s face with a knife while holding him down, splitting his nose open and making numerous cuts in his face and neck. He was convicted of attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. On appeal, he contended that there was insufficient evidence of specific intent to support the aggravated mayhem conviction. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that the victim’s testimony that he was held down and repeatedly slashed supplied sufficient evidence. The fact that appellant was also carrying lighter fluid and matches did not negate or weaken the strong inference of an intent to maim created by his actual conduct.
The trial court had no duty to instruct on unreasonable self defense. Appellant also argued on appeal that the trial court erred by failing to instruct sua sponte on unreasonable self-defense. The appellate court rejected the argument. Even if appellant’s own version of the events was believed, (that he went into the room to commit a burglary and the victim jumped up and pushed him), the circumstances did not justify the attack on the victim. Further, the theory of unreasonable self-defense does not apply to a charge of aggravated mayhem.
Trial counsel was not ineffective for referring to appellant as “strange and paranoid.” Appellant argued that counsel was ineffective because he referred in his argument to appellant being “strange” and “paranoid.” The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that counsel’s reference neither undermined any defense nor implied that appellant was guilty.