Sunday, November 17, 2013

People v. Jeffers case brief

People v. Jeffers case brief summary
49 Cal.Rptr.2d 86 (1996)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant appealed his conviction from the Superior Court of Tulare County (California) for being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of Cal. Penal Code § 12021.

CASE FACTS
Defendant entered a gun store and handed the gunsmith a package. The gunsmith opened the package and found a handgun. Defendant gave the gunsmith his name and address. The gunsmith noticed that the gun's serial numbers were rubbed off, so he contacted authorities. Defendant was subsequently charged and convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Defendant contended the trial court erred because it failed to properly instruct the jury on his theory of defense, namely that he did not know what was in the package until he arrived at the store.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court reversed defendant's conviction. 
  • The court found that based on the instructions given, the jury improperly believed that it only had to decide whether defendant knew there was a gun in the package, even if such knowledge was obtained at the gun store. 
  • The court concluded that the jury also had to decide whether defendant intentionally exercised control over the gun.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed defendant's conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court found that the trial court failed to adequately instruct the jury on defendant's theory of defense. The trial court failed to advise the jury that they had to determine whether defendant intentionally exercised control over the gun.

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