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Name: People v. Verlinde
Case #: D037142
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/05/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 10/30/02.

Initially both defendant and Vessells were driving a vehicle, one steering while the other operated the pedals. However, at the time of the fatal accident, the evidence was conflicting as to whether Vessels was asleep and defendant alone was driving. Thus,Vessells was not, as a matter of law, an accomplice to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated or felony drunk driving, and the court did not err in refusing to so instruct the jury. However, the court did err in failing to instruct the jury to determine if Vessells were an accomplice, and if so, his testimony should be viewed with caution and required corroboration. The error was not prejudicial because the jury still would have convicted if Vessell’s testimony were ignored.