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Name: Byrd v. Lewis
Case #: 06-15977
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 12/11/2007

Trial court did not err by failing to give a mistake of fact instruction. In his appeal from the denial of his habeas petition challenging his jury conviction for vehicle theft (Veh. Code, sec. 10851), Byrd contended that since there was evidence that the victim gave him permission to drive the car, the trial court erred when it failed to instruct sua sponte regarding mistake of fact. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the evidence demonstrated that no reasonable juror would have concluded that Byrd actually believed he had been loaned the vehicle.
Scope of consent instruction improperly…

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Name: People v. Russell
Case #: H029753
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/21/2006

Appellant was convicted of receiving a stolen vehicle, in violation of Penal Code section 496d. On appeal, he contended there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction because his honest if mistaken belief that the motorcycle was abandoned negated the felonious intent element of the offense. He also contended that the trial court prejudicially erred when it failed to instruct the jury on the mistake of fact and claim of right defenses, which would have negated the intent element of the offense. The appellate court found that the trial court erred when it failed to instruct the…

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Name: People v. Dominguez
Case #: S130860
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/28/2006

The trial court did not err in failing to instruct the jury that a reasonable but mistaken belief that the victim has consented to sexual intercourse is a defense to rape where the defendant did not request such an instruction, did not rely on that defense at trial, and presented no substantial evidence to support the defense. Here, the defense presented was actual consent, not a mistake-of-fact defense, and the trial court did not err in failing to provide a sua sponte Mayberry instruction. (See People v. Mayberry (1975) 15 Cal.3d 143.) Evidence of asportation was sufficient…

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Name: Dixon v. United States
Case #: May-53
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 06/22/2006
Subsequent History: 126 S.Ct. 2437; 165 L.Ed.2d 299

A defendant’s duress defense does not controvert elements of a crime. The government bore the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant knew that she was making false statements and knew that she was breaking the law when she violated federal law by acquiring a firearm while under federal indictment and making false statements in order to acquire the weapon. Since the defendant testified that she knew the statements were false, the government met its burden. She contended that she did so under duress because her boyfriend threatened her and her daughter. The Court concluded…

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Name: People v. Noori
Case #: B181950
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/14/2006

A party in the business of transmitting money to Iran possessed the necessary general intent to be found guilty of non-compliance with the statutory licensing requirements. California Financial Code section 1800.3, subdivision (a), makes it a crime for any person other than specified financial institutions to engage in the business of receiving money for the purposes of transmitting that money or its equivalent to foreign countries without obtaining a license from the appropriate state authority. A person who lacks such a license is guilty of a felony under section 1823 of that code if he represents that he…

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Name: People v. Urziceanu
Case #: C045276
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/12/2005

Defendant appealed from conspiracy convictions arising from his operation of a marijuana collective. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that, under the Compassionate Use Act, he was entitled to present a defense that the law allowed him to form a marijuana collective in order to cultivate and possess marijuana for qualified patients and primary caregivers. The court found no error in the trial court’s ruling precluding defendant from raising the Compassionate Use Act defense to the charge that he had conspired to cultivate and possess marijuana. Defendant had not attempted to prove that he was a patient…

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Name: In re Jennings
Case #: S115009
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/23/2004

A mistake of fact as to age is an affirmative defense against a charge of buying alcohol for an underage person who later causes a serious accident, but the prosecution is not required to prove knowledge of the person’s age as part of the substantive offense. The defendant here was convicted of a violation of Business and Professions Code section 25658, subdivision (c), after the trial court granted the prosecution’s motion to exclude evidence that the defendant did not know that the minor who caused the accident was under 21 when he served the minor beer at his house.…

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Name: People v. Petznick
Case #: H023768
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/18/2003
Subsequent History: Rehrg. den. 1/14/04; Revw. den. 3/24/04

The trial court prejudicially erred in instructing the jury on conspiracy to murder and on the torture-murder special circumstance. The defendant was convicted of conspiracy, murder, burglary, and robbery in concert, and the jury found true three special circumstances, including torture. The court of appeal rejected defendant’s argument that the trial court had erred in refusing his proffered duress instructions, finding that the evidence was insufficient to establish that defendant’s participation in the crimes was the result of a present and active threat of imminent danger. The court likewise rejected his argument that the CALJIC 2.51,…

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Name: People v. Mayer
Case #: B157502
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/30/2003
Subsequent History: None

Appellant filed city council nomination papers stating he resided at a certain address. However, he never slept or held meetings there, or kept personal belongings there, and paid the occupant $250 per month to allow him to receive mail there. He did testified he did conduct political activities in the carport. Appellant claimed the term "residence" had one meaning in the political world (meaning he merely had to spend time there) and another meaning in other applications. The court rejected the argument that a mistake of fact instruction was required for the charge of submitting false nomination…

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Name: People v. Miceli
Case #: C036703
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 12/11/2002
Subsequent History: 1/7/03 modified on den. of rehrg.; 3/5/03 rev. den.

The trial court properly refused to instruct on the defense of necessity. Substantial evidence supported defendant’s conviction for assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The trial court properly declined to instruct on the lesser included offense of assault with a deadly weapon. The appellate court agreed that defendant’s conviction for assault with a firearm upon victim-Linton on July 4 must be stricken because it is a lesser included offense of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. The evidence essentially showed defendant pistol-whipped Linton without justification or excuse. His claim that he assaulted Linton to stop him from…

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