People v. Wu case brief summary
235 Cal. App. 3d 614, 286 Cal. Rptr. 868 (1991)
A jury convicted defendant of second
degree murder of her son and sentenced her to prison for 15 years to
life, which was rendered by the Superior Court No. ICR 12873 of
Riverside County (California). Defendant filed an appeal from her
conviction, asserting that the trial court erred in refusing to
instruct the jury on unconsciousness.
CASE FACTS Defendant challenged her conviction of
second degree murder of her son and sentence to prison from 15 years
to life, contending that the trial court erred in refusing to give
two requested jury instructions, one relating to the defense of
unconsciousness and the other relating to the effect that her Chinese
cultural background may have had on her state of mind when she killed
The court reversed defendant's conviction, holding that it
was error for the trial court to refuse to instruct the jury on
unconsciousness despite the existence of evidence to support the
giving of such an instruction.
The court reasoned that the issue of
unconsciousness had not been adversely resolved toward defendant
under other instructions given.
The court further ordered the trial
court to grant defendant's jury instruction which pointed out that
the jury may consider evidence of defendant's cultural background in
determining the presence or absence of the relevant mental states,
which was clearly relevant on the issues of premeditation and
CONCLUSION The court reversed defendant conviction
because the jury was not instructed on unconsciousness, despite the
existence of evidence to support the giving of such a jury
instruction, and because the issue of unconsciousness was not
resolved adversely to defendant under the other instructions given.
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