Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Cavitt case brief

People v. Cavitt case brief summary
14 Cal. Rptr. 3D 281 (2004)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants one and two were convicted of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of robbery murder and burglary murder, as well as certain lesser offenses. Defendant one was also convicted of personally inflicting great bodily injury in the commission of the murder. The cases were consolidated, and the Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Three, affirmed. The court granted review.

CASE FACTS
Defendants one and two were convicted of the felony murder of the stepmother of defendant one's girlfriend. The girlfriend plotted with defendants one and two to burglarize the stepmother's house. Both defendants argued that the evidence supported the defense theory that the girlfriend killed the stepmother after both defendants fled the scene. The court granted review to clarify a non-killer's liability for a killing "committed in the perpetration" of an inherently dangerous felony under Cal. Penal Code §189's felony-murder rule.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that, in such circumstances, the felony-murder rule required both a causal relationship and a temporal relationship between the underlying felony and the act resulting in death. 
  • The causal relationship was established by proof of a logical nexus, beyond mere coincidence of time and place, between the homicidal act and the underlying felony the non-killer committed or attempted to commit. 
  • The temporal relationship was established by proof the felony and the homicidal act were part of one continuous transaction. 
  • The court affirmed the judgment. 
  • There was substantial evidence of a logical nexus between the burglary/robbery and the murder.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed.

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