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Name: People v. Taylor
Case #: S112443
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 04/05/2004

Where a defendant shoots a woman and kills both her and her fetus, he may be held liable for second degree implied malice murder of the fetus even in the absence of evidence that he knew the woman was pregnant. The victim in this case was eleven to thirteen weeks pregnant and her pregnancy was not yet visible. However, the Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General that the defendant knowingly caused grave risk to human life when he fired a gun twice inside an occupied apartment building. The court noted that if one of the victim’s other children had died during the assault, there would be no inquiry into whether defendant knew the child was present for implied malice murder liability to attach. The court found no principled basis on which to require that a defendant know his victim is pregnant to justify an implied malice murder conviction as to her fetus. All that is required for implied malice murder is that the defendant acted with knowledge of the danger to and conscious disregard for life in general.