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Name: People v. Westlund
Case #: F032185
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/05/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 6/13/01

Guided by the Supreme Court’s decision in In re Jorge M. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 866, the court here concluded that possession of a silencer (Pen. Code, § 12520), requires the prosecution to show that the defendant knew or should have known of the criminal nature of the silencer (i.e., the characteristics of the item that made it illegal to possess). Thus, the court held that it was error for the trial court not to instruct the jury on these elements of the offense. However, the court found the error to be harmless. Defendant had stated he had a permit for the silencer and that the silencer did not belong to him, but defendant had substantial and unhindered access to the firearm, and thus would be expected to know that the item in question was a silencer.