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Name: People v. Mounsaveng
Case #: F033224
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/22/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. granted as S096988 7/11/01

It was error for the trial court to have applied a preponderance of evidence standard to appellant's duress defense in a robbery trial. Since duress negates the mens rea element of the crime, the defendant need only raise a reasonable doubt that he acted under the exercise of his own free will. However, reversal was not required because based on the entire record, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial court found that appellant had the opportunity to alert the authorities, which condemned his duress defense. Under those circumstances, the trial court's application…

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