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Name: People v. Stringer
Case #: D073877
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/07/2019

Jury instruction for aggravated kidnapping prejudicially allowed conviction under the legally invalid theory that defendant kidnapped to exact money or something valuable from the kidnap victim. A jury convicted Stringer of aggravated kidnapping (Pen. Code, § 209, subd. (a)) and other offenses. On appeal, Stringer argued the jury instructions given as to aggravated kidnapping permitted the jury to find him guilty of the offenses on a legally invalid basis. Held: Aggravated kidnapping convictions reversed. Section 209, subdivision (a) describes four types of aggravated kidnapping: (1) for ransom; (2) for reward; (3) to commit extortion; and (4) to exact from another…

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Name: People v. Zinda
Case #: C072981
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/27/2015

Defendant was not entitled to sua sponte instructions on justifiable homicide in making an arrest or mistake of fact where he mistook innocent man for a burglar and killed him with an axe. Immediately after Zinda's home was burglarized, he saw Valdez standing on the street nearby. Believing Valdez had been involved in the burglary, Zinda chased Valdez into a field and killed him with an axe. He was convicted of second degree murder. On appeal, Zinda contended that the trial court erred by not instructing the jury sua sponte on justifiable homicide in making an…

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Name: People v. Elmore
Case #: S188238
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/02/2014

Unreasonable self-defense is a form of mistake of fact and therefore has no application when the defendant's belief in the need to defend himself is entirely delusional. Defendant, who was mentally ill, stabbed to death a woman at a bus stop. When charged, Elmore pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. At trial his request for instructions on unreasonable self-defense and hallucination was denied. After his conviction of first degree murder he withdrew his insanity defense. The Court of Appeal reversed for failing to instruct on hallucination, but rejected appellant's argument that the trial court erred for…

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Name: People v. Hanna
Case #: C067178
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/31/2013

Trial court did not commit prejudicial error by failing to instruct on mistake-of-fact defense where defendant was charged with an attempted violation of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a) and he believed the minor victim was 18. A jury concluded that Hanna arranged a meeting with a minor he met on MySpace in order to engage in lewd and lascivious behavior, and convicted him of multiple offenses. At trial, the court had refused to instruct the jury on good faith mistake-of-fact regarding the victim's age, as there was insufficient evidence that Hanna reasonably and actually believed that…

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Name: People v. Lawson
Case #: E053349
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 04/04/2013

The trial court is not required to instruct, sua sponte, on the defense of mistake of fact if the jury is otherwise instructed on the required mental state of the offense. Appellant was charged with and convicted of petty theft for stealing a $20 hoodie from a Walmart store. The evidence presented at trial was that appellant put the hoodie over his shoulder. He then selected other items, paid for them, and left the store, with the hoodie still over his shoulder. On appeal, appellant claimed that the trial court erroneously failed to instruct the jury, sua sponte, on the…

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Name: People v. Sojka
Case #: A127831
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/14/2011

In a jury trial for attempted rape, when there is substantial evidence of victim's equivocal conduct that would have led defendant to reasonably and in good faith to believe consent existed when it did not, it is error not to instruct on mistaken belief of consent. Appellant and the victim met each other at a bar. The two struck up a conversation and appellant bought her a beer. Over the evening, they remained with each other, becoming somewhat amorous and continuing to drink. Appellant then accompanied her home. At this point, appellant’s and the victim’s accounts of the following events…

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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: S175351
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/02/2011

Where defendant claims accident to negate the mental state required for robbery, trial court is not required to instruct on that theory a sua sponte. On November 7, 2003, Anderson, a methamphetamine addict, was looking for a car to steal. He found one in the enclosed parking lot of an apartment complex and took it. As he was leaving the complex, Pamela Thompson, the car's owner, ran out to stop the theft. Although Anderson swerved to avoid her, he ran over and killed her. His conviction of felony murder was reversed by the Court of Appeal for instructional error. The…

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Name: People v. Cordell
Case #: D056302
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 06/01/2011

An instruction on the defense of mistake of fact as to consent to sexual acts need only be given if the evidence supports a factual scenario where the defense would apply. People v. Mayberry (1975) 15 Cal.3d 143, 155, established a defense when the defendant actually and reasonably believed that the victim consented to charged acts. People v. Williams (1992) 4 Cal.4th 354 clarified when the defense instruction was required. There must be substantial evidence of the subjective component that the defendant honestly and in good faith believed there was consent and the objective component which asks whether the defendant's…

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Name: People v. Williams
Case #: C059218
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/26/2009

A good-faith belief by a defendant, tried as an accomplice, that he was assisting his co-principal to retake the principal's property, negates the felonious intent element of a theft-based offense, and a claim-of-right instruction must be given where substantial evidence supports such a belief. Appellant accompanied his brother and a third man to the residence of the brother's former girlfriend and the three pushed their way in. Once inside, appellant pulled a handgun, waved it around, and demanded that the victim return the car and laptop belonging to his brother, which she did. Tried on the theory that he aided…

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Name: People v. Meneses
Case #: A113017
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 08/19/2008

Court did not err by rejecting mistake of law and fact instructions where appellant claimed he did not know he was doing anything wrong. Appellant was convicted of multiple crimes arising out of a scheme to defraud insurance companies. On appeal, he argued that the trial court should have sua sponte instructed the jury on mistake of law and mistake of fact as defenses as there was evidence that appellant "did not think he did anything wrong." The appellate court rejected the argument. Appellant's claim that he didn't know he was doing anything wrong does not provide…

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