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Name: People v. Middleton (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 749
Case #: B312583
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 05/18/2023

A defendant violates Penal Code section 236.1(c) when the defendant attempts, but fails, to traffic an actual minor, even if the defendant lacks specific intent regarding the victim’s age, and mistake of fact as to age is not a defense. Middleton was convicted of human trafficking of a minor for a commercial sex act under the attempt prong of section 236.1(c), and other related offenses. On appeal, she argued the trial court erred by not instructing the jury that the People had to prove specific intent as to age, and by instructing the jury that mistake of fact as to…

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Name: People v. Mumin
Case #: D076916
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/19/2021

Trial court correctly instructed jury with "kill zone" theory of attempted murder liability where defendant shot through closed doors at pursuing police officers. Mumin was convicted of special circumstance murder after he killed a man during a store robbery, as well as several counts of attempted murder for shooting at pursuing police. The trial court instructed the jury on a kill zone theory of attempted murder liability. On appeal, Mumin argued the evidence was insufficient to warrant a kill zone instruction. Held: Affirmed. When a single act is charged as the basis for the attempted murders of two or more…

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Name: People v. Moses
Case #: S258143
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/28/2020

Opinion By: Justice Corrigan (unanimous decision)
A defendant may be convicted of human trafficking of a minor under the attempt prong of the statute (Pen. Code, § 236.1, subd. (c)), rather than the general law of attempt (Pen. Code, §§ 21a, 664), even if the target of his recruitment efforts is an undercover detective. Moses unwittingly targeted a police decoy over the Internet and tried to recruit her to work as a prostitute. He was told she was 17 years old. Based on his conduct with a fictitious minor, Moses was convicted of human trafficking and other offenses. The…

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Name: People v. Fontenot
Case #: S247044
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/26/2019

Opinion by Justice Cuéllar (joined by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justices Chin and Corrigan). Justice Kruger filed a concurring opinion. Justice Liu filed a concurring and dissenting opinion, in which Justice Groban concurred.

Although attempted kidnapping is not a lesser included offense (LIO) of kidnapping (Pen. Code, § 207, subd. (a)), defendant charged with kidnapping had notice (based on Pen. Code, § 1159) that he could be convicted of attempted kidnapping. A girl named Destiny was babysitting Madeline and several other girls when Fontenot approached, grabbed Madeline's arm, and tried to pull her away. Destiny grabbed Madeline's…

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Name: People v. Canizales
Case #: S221958
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/24/2019

The "kill zone" theory for establishing the specific intent to kill required for attempted murder is proper when the only reasonable inference from the evidence is that the defendant intended to kill everyone in the zone of fatal harm to ensure the death of his primary victim. Defendants Canizales and Windfield were tried for first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder arising from a gang-related shooting. The murder victim was a bystander who was shot during the defendants' attempt to kill the targeted victim, Pride. The trial court gave a kill zone instruction as to one of the…

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Name: In re Ramirez
Case #: F075897
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/20/2019

Felony murder special circumstance finding vacated where evidence failed to show defendant was a major participant in the murder committed while he was an accomplice to an attempted commission of robbery. In February 1997, Ramirez was convicted of murder committed while he was an accomplice in an attempted robbery. A robbery-murder special circumstance was found true, and he was sentenced LWOP. His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. After the California Supreme Court decided People v. Banks (2015) 61 Cal.4th 788, Ramirez filed a writ petition challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the special circumstance finding. Held: Petition…

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Name: People v. Shields
Case #: A149037
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 05/30/2018

Penal Code section 236.1, subdivision (c) does not violate due process by authorizing a conviction for human trafficking of a minor under the attempt prong of the statute without requiring proof that the defendant knew the victim was a minor. A detective created a fake Facebook account for a fictional 17-year-old prostitute and contacted Shields. His communications with the detective led to his arrest and conviction by a jury of human trafficking of a minor (Pen. Code, § 236.1, subd. (c)(1)), pandering by encouraging another person to become a prostitute (Pen. Code, § 266i, subd. (a)(2)), and attempted pimping of…

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Name: People v. Epperson
Case #: A145868
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/09/2017

Pursuant to Penal Code section 664, the penalty for attempted first degree residential robbery in concert is one-half the term set forth in section 213, subdivision (a)(1)(A). A jury convicted Epperson and his two codefendants of a number of offenses, including four counts of attempted first degree robbery (Pen. Code, §§ 664, 211, 212.5). The jury also found that the attempted robberies were committed in concert with two or more persons. (Pen. Code, § 213, subd. (a)(1)(A).) With respect to the attempted robberies, the trial court sentenced Epperson to consecutive one-year subordinate terms calculated as one-third of half the mid-term…

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Name: People v. Cardona
Case #: B261458
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/14/2016

Attempted murder conviction reversed because trial court should not have given a kill zone instruction. While at a party, Cardona and a fellow gang member tried to steal a tank of nitrous oxide from another partygoer, Jauregui, who resisted and stabbed Cardona. Cardona pulled out a gun and fired many times, killing Jauregui. Another partygoer standing nearby was also struck by a bullet and seriously injured. A jury convicted Cardona of first degree murder, attempted murder, and found true a number of enhancements. On appeal, Cardona argued that the court erred when it gave a kill zone instruction with respect…

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Name: People v. Zaun
Case #: C078962
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/25/2016

Sufficient evidence supported attempted burglary convictions where jury could reasonably conclude that defendant and his companions had the intent to enter homes to commit theft, but abandoned their plan when someone answered the front door. In 2013, Zaun and two others committed a series of burglaries during which they would first ring the front door bell of a house and, if there was no answer, would enter the house and steal property. On two occasions, the homeowner answered the door and the uninvited guest left after making an excuse for knocking on the door. Zaun was convicted of two…

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