Skip to content
Name: People v. Canizales
Case #: E054056
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/05/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 6/25/2014: S217860

"Kill Zone" instruction was proper in attempted murder case where gang members fired multiple shots into group with rival gang members, intending to kill one of them. Defendants, members of the Ramona Blocc gang, shot at rival gang members Pride and Bolden in a crowd. They were convicted of first degree murder and two counts of premeditated attempted murder. The jury found gun use allegations true and that the offenses were committed for the benefit of a gang. One issue on appeal challenged the trial court's "kill zone" instruction as applied to the attempted murder of Bolden. Held: Affirmed.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Bryant
Case #: D057570
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/18/2013

Trial court had no sua sponte duty to instruct on involuntary manslaughter where defendant committed a killing without malice during an assaultive felony. Bryant killed her boyfriend with a knife. She was found not guilty of first degree murder, but guilty of second degree murder, with a personal use allegation. In her original appeal, Bryant claimed that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury sua sponte on involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of murder, on a theory that she killed while committing the misdemeanor offense of brandishing. The court reversed the conviction, however, concluding that…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Sanchez
Case #: B241561
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 11/27/2013

First degree murder conviction reversed where jury was improperly instructed it did not have to unanimously agree on the theory of murder, which sanctioned a verdict that was not unanimous as to degree. A jury convicted Sanchez of first degree murder for a killing committed during a dispute over drugs. Sanchez was not the shooter. The prosecution proceeded on two aiding and abetting theories: (1) first degree felony murder during a kidnapping; and (2) second degree murder if the killing was a natural and probable consequence of an assault or a kidnapping. In response to a jury question on second…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Culbert
Case #: B238633
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/24/2013

Conviction for making criminal threats upheld where defendant held an unloaded firearm to child's head and pulled the trigger. Appellant was angry with his 15-year-old stepson, who he believed had stolen money. He told the minor he was "in time out" in the bathroom, then took an unloaded revolver into the bathroom and held it to the minor's head. He said "Don't ever lie to me" and "Don't you ever call me that again" and pulled the trigger. The minor knew appellant's guns were usually loaded, and was terrified. Appellant then hugged the minor and told…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Beltran
Case #: S192644
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/03/2013

Provocation which is adequate to reduce murder to manslaughter focuses on whether a person of average disposition would be induced to react from passion, not whether such person would be induced to kill. Beltran was convicted of second degree murder in the stabbing death of his girlfriend. The Court of Appeal reversed his conviction, finding the voluntary manslaughter instruction (former CALCRIM No. 570) prejudicially erroneous. The prosecution sought review. Held: Reversed. On appeal, Beltran claimed the voluntary manslaughter instruction erroneously told the jurors to consider how "a person would react" to the provocation, focusing on whether it would induce a…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Santana
Case #: S198324
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/10/2013

CALCRIM No. 801, defining mayhem, improperly requires the prosecution to prove that defendant caused "serious bodily injury." By jury, appellant was convicted of attempted mayhem, resulting from an incident where he shot the victim three times in the leg and buttock area. The trial court instructed the jury with a modified version of CALCRIM No. 801, the standard jury instruction for mayhem. The Court of Appeal reversed appellant’s conviction, holding that the modified instruction was unfairly argumentative. The Supreme Court reversed. CALCRIM No. 801 provides that "the people must prove that the defendant caused serious bodily injury…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Bryant
Case #: S196365
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/03/2013

A killing committed without malice in the commission of an inherently dangerous assaultive felony does not constitute voluntary manslaughter. Bryant was convicted of second degree murder in the stabbing death of her boyfriend. The Court of Appeal reversed because the trial court failed to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of murder based on a killing without malice in the commission of an inherently dangerous assaultive felony. Held: Reversed. A second degree felony murder may be based on commission of an inherently dangerous felony, but not an assaultive felony, because the offenses "merge." (People v.…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. McCloud
Case #: B228209
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/05/2012

Trial court prejudicially erred by giving kill zone theory instruction because there was no evidence that appellants intended to kill 46 people with 10 bullets. Appellants McCloud and Stringer fired 10 shots at a party with a large number of people present, killing two people and injuring another. Seven of the bullets did not hit anyone. They were both convicted of two counts of second degree murder. Stringer was also convicted of 46 counts of attempted murder. On appeal, Stringer argued that the trial court committed prejudicial error by instructing the jury on the kill zone theory…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Islas
Case #: B233087
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 10/18/2012

There was sufficient evidence of felony false imprisonment where gang members went into family's home to hide from police. Appellants appealed the judgments following their conviction by jury of first-degree burglary with a person present and five counts of false imprisonment by violence, a felony. The jury found that each offense had been committed for the benefit of a street gang within the meaning of section 186.22, subdivision (b)(1). On appeal, appellants argued that the false imprisonment convictions had to be reduced to misdemeanors because the evidence did not establish violence or menace, and the burglary convictions also reversed since…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: B197737
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/26/2012

Hearsay statements were not admissible to establish state-of-mind, as part of adoptive admissions, or to impeach adoptive admissions and the evidence was properly excluded under Evidence Code section 352. A jury convicted appellant of continuous sexual abuse of a child (Pen. Code, § 288.5) and three counts of lewd acts with a child under age 14 (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). Appellant, a medical doctor, molested the daughter of a colleague who worked for the same laboratory for several years. Appellant asserted the trial court erred in excluding evidence of a letter he wrote to a police chief after…

View Full Summary