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Name: Solis v. Garcia
Case #: 98-56219
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/12/2000
Subsequent History: None
Summary

After expanding the Certificate of Appealability to all three issues raised in this federal habeas action, the appellate court denied the habeas petition because the jury instructions did not allow the jury to convict Solis of murder without finding that he acted with the requisite intent to aid and abet the predicate crime. While the instructions did not define the elements of the predicate crime, the instructions did require the jury to find that Solis had knowledge of the principal’s unlawful purpose, had intent to encourage or facilitate the commission of the crime, and aided, promoted or encouraged the commission of the crime. California law does not require that jurors unanimously agree upon the basis for the defendant’s guilt, when alternate legally valid theories exist. Solis’ claim of cumulative error is not cognizable because he did not exhaust his state court appeals on that issue by raising it in the California Supreme Court. The petition for review did not label his cumulative error claim as an “issue” in the contents section of his brief, nor did he argue the claim or cite authority for it. Accordingly, the Solis cited no authority and made no argument to which the government could reasonably reply, which left the California Supreme Court with no argument to consider. After expanding the Certificate of Appealability to all three issues raised in this federal habeas action, the appellate court denied the habeas petition because the jury instructions did not allow the jury to convict Solis of murder without finding that he acted with the requisite intent to aid and abet the predicate crime. While the instructions did not define the elements of the predicate crime, the instructions did require the jury to find that Solis had knowledge of the principal’s unlawful purpose, had intent to encourage or facilitate the commission of the crime, and aided, promoted or encouraged the commission of the crime. California law does not require that jurors unanimously agree upon the basis for the defendant’s guilt, when alternate legally valid theories exist. The trial court did not err in refusing to instruct on voluntary or involuntary manslaughter as a lesser-included or lesser-related charge because the evidence did not support giving the instruction. Here, Solis testified that he had knowledge of Moffat’s intent to brandish a gun, that he drove past the Linda Vista boys a third time, with headlights turned off, and that Moffat fired at the victims from the car. This is evidence of implied malice which precludes an involuntary manslaughter instruction, imperfect self-defense, or heat of passion.