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Name: People v. Vasquez
Case #: C078671
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/11/2016

People v. Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155 is not applicable where first degree premeditated murder conviction under an aider and abettor theory may have been based on the transferred intent doctrine, but not on the natural and probable consequences doctrine. Bryant and Vasquez were tried together in front of separate juries for the first degree murder of Horton and the attempted murder of Duncan. Vasquez, who was the shooter, was found guilty of second degree murder and attempted voluntary manslaughter; gang enhancements were found not true. Bryant, who was the getaway driver, was found guilty as an aider and abettor of first degree murder, attempted murder, and the gang enhancements were found true. Defendants appealed. Held: Affirmed. Bryant claimed the jury might have found him guilty of first degree murder as an aider and abettor based on a natural and probable consequences theory, which is in violation of People v. Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155. In Chiu the court held that an aider and abettor could not be found guilty of premeditated murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine because the mental state for premeditation and deliberation is “uniquely subjective and personal.” However, in this case, the instructions required the jury to find that Bryant acted with premeditation and deliberation. The jury was not instructed on the natural and probable consequences doctrine; it was instructed on the findings required for directly aiding and abetting the crimes. To the extent the jury could have found that the shooting of Horton was the result of transferred intent, this does not implicate the concerns raised in Chiu “because under the transferred intent doctrine, the intent required for the crime at issue (here, intent to kill for premeditated murder) was already established with respect to Bryant and was transferred to the ultimate victim (Horton).” [Editor’s Note: Vasquez’s claims were addressed in an unpublished portion of the opinion.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: