People v. Soto

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In deciding whether a defendant is guilty of murder, the jury is permitted to consider evidence of voluntary invocation on the question of whether the defendant intended to kill but not on the question of whether he believed he needed to act in self-defense. Defendant was charged with first degree murder and first degree burglary. Defendant claimed he was guilty of, at most, voluntary manslaughter because he killed in “unreasonable self-defense” - that is, he actually believed he needed to act in self-defense even if that belief was unreasonable. The jury acquitted Defendant of first degree murder but found him guilty of second degree murder and first degree burglary. On appeal, the court of appeal concluded that the trial court erred in prohibiting the jury from considering evidence of voluntary intoxication on the question of whether Defendant believe he needed to act in self-defense, but the error was harmless. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court correctly instructed the jury on how it could consider Defendant’s evidence of voluntary intoxication. View "People v. Soto" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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