CALCRIM No. 252. Union of Act and Intent: General and Specific Intent Together

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2022 edition)

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252.Union of Act and Intent: General and Specific Intent Together
The crime[s] [(and/or) other allegation[s]] charged in Count[s]
require[s] proof of the union, or joint operation, of act and wrongful
intent.
The following crime[s] [and allegation[s]] require[s] general criminal
intent: <insert name[s] of alleged offense[s] and
enhancement[s] and count[s], e.g., battery, as charged in Count 1>. For you
to find a person guilty of (this/these) crime[s] [or to find the allegation[s]
true], that person must not only commit the prohibited act [or fail to do
the required act], but must do so with wrongful intent. A person acts
with wrongful intent when he or she intentionally does a prohibited act
[or fails to do a required act]; however, it is not required that he or she
intend to break the law. The act required is explained in the instruction
for that crime [or allegation].
The following crime[s] [and allegation[s]] require[s] a specific intent or
mental state: <insert name[s] of alleged offense[s] and
count[s], e.g., burglary, as charged in Count 1> <insert
name[s] of enhancement[s]>. For you to find a person guilty of (this/
these) crimes [or to find the allegation[s] true], that person must not only
intentionally commit the prohibited act [or intentionally fail to do the
required act], but must do so with a specific (intent/ [and/or] mental
state). The act and the specific (intent/ [and/or] mental state) required
are explained in the instruction for that crime [or allegation].
<Repeat next paragraph as needed>
[The specific (intent/ [and/or] mental state) required for the crime of
<insert name[s] of alleged offense[s] e.g., burglary> is
<insert specific intent>.]
New January 2006; Revised June 2007, April 2010, April 2011, March 2017
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on the joint union of act and intent.
(People v. Alvarez (1996) 14 Cal.4th 155, 220 [58 Cal.Rptr.2d 385, 926 P.2d 365];
People v. Ford (1964) 60 Cal.2d 772, 792-793 [36 Cal.Rptr. 620, 388 P.2d 892];
People v. Jeffers (1996) 41 Cal.App.4th 917, 920-923 [49 Cal.Rptr.2d 86].) The
court may give this instruction in cases involving both offenses requiring a specific
intent or mental state and offenses that do not, rather than giving both CALCRIM
No. 250 and CALCRIM No. 251.
Do not give this instruction if the case involves only offenses requiring a specific
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intent or mental state or involves only offenses that do not. (See CALCRIM No.
250, Union of Act and Intent: General Intent, and CALCRIM No. 251, Union of Act
and Intent: Specific Intent or Mental State.)
The court should specify for the jury which offenses require general criminal intent
and which require a specific intent or mental state by inserting the names of the
offenses where indicated in the instruction. (See People v. Hill (1967) 67 Cal.2d
105, 118 [60 Cal.Rptr. 234, 429 P.2d 586].) If the crime requires a specific mental
state, such as knowledge or malice, the court must insert the name of the offense in
the third paragraph, explaining the mental state requirement, even if the crime is
classified as a general intent offense.
If the defendant is charged with aiding and abetting or conspiracy to commit a
general-intent offense, the court must instruct on the specific intent required for
aiding and abetting or conspiracy. (See People v. McCoy (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1111,
1117-1118 [108 Cal.Rptr.2d 188, 24 P.3d 1210]; People v. Bernhardt (1963) 222
Cal.App.2d 567, 586-587 [35 Cal.Rptr. 401].)
If the defendant is also charged with a criminal negligence or strict-liability offense,
insert the name of the offense where indicated in the first sentence. The court may
also give CALCRIM No. 253, Union of Act and Intent: Criminal Negligence, or
CALCRIM No. 254, Union of Act and Intent: Strict-Liability Crime.
Defenses - Instructional Duty
Evidence of voluntary intoxication or mental impairment may be admitted to show
that the defendant did not form the required mental state. (See People v. Ricardi
(1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 1427, 1432 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d 364].) The court has no sua sponte
duty to instruct on these defenses; however, the trial court must give these
instructions on request if supported by the evidence. (People v. Saille (1991) 54
Cal.3d 1103, 1119 [2 Cal.Rptr.2d 364, 820 P.2d 588]; see Defenses and Insanity,
CALCRIM No. 3400 et seq.)
AUTHORITY
Statutory Authority. Pen. Code, § 20; see also Evid. Code, §§ 665, 668.
Instructional Requirements. People v. Hill (1967) 67 Cal.2d 105, 117 [60
Cal.Rptr. 234, 429 P.2d 586]; People v. Ford (1964) 60 Cal.2d 772, 792-793 [36
Cal.Rptr. 620, 388 P.2d 892]; People v. Jeffers (1996) 41 Cal.App.4th 917,
920-923 [49 Cal.Rptr.2d 86].
History of General-Intent Requirement. Morissette v. United States (1952) 342
U.S. 246 [72 S.Ct. 240, 96 L.Ed. 288]; see also People v. Garcia (2001) 25
Cal.4th 744, 754 [107 Cal.Rptr.2d 355, 23 P.3d 590].
This Instruction Upheld. People v. Ibarra (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 1174, 1189
[67 Cal.Rptr.3d 871].
Instruction on Both General and Specific Intent May Be Necessary for Voluntary
Manslaughter. People v. Martinez (2007) 154 Cal.App.4th 314, 334-336 [64
Cal.Rptr.3d 580].
CALCRIM No. 252 POST-TRIAL: INTRODUCTORY
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RELATED ISSUES
See the Bench Notes and Related Issues sections of CALCRIM No. 250, Union of
Act and Intent: General Intent, and CALCRIM No. 251, Union of Act and Intent:
Specific Intent or Mental State.
SECONDARY SOURCES
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Elements, §§ 1-6.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[2][e] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, § 140.02[1]-[3] (Matthew Bender).
POST-TRIAL: INTRODUCTORY CALCRIM No. 252
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