CALCRIM No. 2577. Explosion of Explosive or Destructive Device Causing Bodily Injury (Pen. Code, § 18750)
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)Download PDF
2577.Explosion of Explosive or Destructive Device Causing
Bodily Injury (Pen. Code, § 18750)
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with (exploding/ [or]
igniting) (an explosive/ [or] a destructive device) causing bodily injury to
another person [in violation of Penal Code section 18750].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
1. The defendant willfully and maliciously (exploded/ [or] ignited)
(an explosive/ [or] a destructive device);
2. The explosion caused bodily injury to another person.
Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on
purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt
someone else, or gain any advantage.
Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful
act or when he or she acts with the unlawful intent to annoy or injure
[An explosive is any substance, or combination of substances, (1) whose
main or common purpose is to detonate or rapidly combust and (2)
which is capable of a relatively instantaneous or rapid release of gas and
[An explosive is also any substance whose main purpose is to be
combined with other substances to create a new substance that can
release gas and heat rapidly or relatively instantaneously.]
[<insert type of explosive from Health & Saf. Code, § 12000>
is an explosive.]
[A destructive device is <insert definition from Pen. Code,
[<insert type of destructive device from Pen. Code, § 16460>
is a destructive device.]
[The term[s] (explosive/ [and] destructive device) (is/are) defined in
[An act causes bodily injury if the injury is the direct, natural, and
probable consequence of the act, and the injury would not have
happened without the act. A natural and probable consequence is one
that a reasonable person would know is likely to happen if nothing
unusual intervenes. In deciding whether a consequence is natural and
probable, consider all of the circumstances established by the evidence.]
[There may be more than one cause of bodily injury. An act causes
bodily injury only if it is a substantial factor in causing the injury. A
substantial factor is more than a trivial or remote factor. However, it
need not be the only factor that causes the injury.]
New January 2006; Revised February 2012
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the
If causation is at issue, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on proximate
cause. (See People v. Bernhardt (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 567, 590-591 [35 Cal.Rptr.
401] [causation issue in homicide].) If the evidence indicates that there was only
one cause of injury, the court should give the “direct, natural, and probable”
language in the first bracketed paragraph on causation. If there is evidence of
multiple causes of injury, the court should also give the “substantial factor”
instruction and definition in the second bracketed paragraph. (See People v. Autry
(1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 351, 363 [43 Cal.Rptr.2d 135]; People v. Pike (1988) 197
Cal.App.3d 732, 746-747 [243 Cal.Rptr. 54].)
Depending on the device or substance used, give the bracketed definitions of
“explosive” or “destructive device,” inserting the appropriate definition from Penal
Code section 16460, unless the court has already given the definition in other
instructions. In such cases, the court may give the bracketed sentence stating that
the term is defined elsewhere. If the case involves a specific device listed in Health
and Safety Code section 12000 or Penal Code section 16460, the court may instead
give the bracketed sentence stating that the listed item “is an explosive” or “is a
destructive device.” For example, “A grenade is a destructive device.” However, the
court may not instruct the jury that the defendant used a destructive device. For
example, the court may not state that “the defendant used a destructive device, a
grenade,” or “the device used by the defendant, a grenade, was a destructive
device.” (People v. Dimitrov (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 18, 25-26 [39 Cal.Rptr.2d
If the device used is a bomb, the court may insert the word “bomb” in the bracketed
definition of destructive device without further definition. (People v. Dimitrov, supra,
33 Cal.App.4th at p. 25.) Appellate courts have held that the term “bomb” is not
vague and is understood in its “common, accepted, and popular sense.” (People v.
Quinn (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 251, 258 [129 Cal.Rptr. 139]; People v. Dimitrov,
supra, 33 Cal.App.4th at p. 25.) If the court wishes to define the term “bomb,” the
court may use the following definition: “A bomb is a device carrying an explosive
charge fused to blow up or detonate under certain conditions.” (See People v. Morse
WEAPONS CALCRIM No. 2577
(1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 620, 647, fn. 8 [3 Cal.Rptr.2d 343].)
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 18750.
• Explosive Defined. Health & Saf. Code, § 12000.
• Destructive Device Defined. Pen. Code, § 16460.
• Maliciously Defined. Pen. Code, § 7(4); People v. Lopez (1986) 176
Cal.App.3d 545, 550 [222 Cal.Rptr. 101]; see also People v. Heideman (1976)
58 Cal.App.3d 321, 335 [130 Cal.Rptr. 349].
• Must Injure Another Person. People v. Teroganesian (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th
1534, 1538 [37 Cal.Rptr.2d 489].
• General Intent Crime. See People v. Thompson (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1966,
1970-1971 [10 Cal.Rptr.2d 15].
LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES
• Possession of Destructive Device. Pen. Code, § 18710; People v. Westoby
(1976) 63 Cal.App.3d 790, 795 [134 Cal.Rptr. 97].
• Possession of Explosive. Health & Saf. Code, § 12305; People v. Westoby
(1976) 63 Cal.App.3d 790, 795 [134 Cal.Rptr. 97].
Maliciously - People v. Heideman
In People v. Heideman (1976) 58 Cal.App.3d 321 [130 Cal.Rptr. 349], the defendant
offered to commit murder for hire using explosives and possessed the explosives.
(Id. at pp. 327-329.) The defendant asserted that he did not actually intend to
physically injure anyone but simply to defraud the individuals offering to pay for
the murders. (Id. at pp. 330-331.) On appeal, the defendant contended that the court
had improperly instructed on the meaning of “recklessness,” which the prosecution
conceded. (Id. at p. 334.) Noting that the “[d]efendant admitted that his purpose in
storing the dynamite in his room was to carry out a nefarious scheme to defraud his
victims,” the court found sufficient evidence to establish malice. (Id. at p. 335.) The
court stated that under the facts of the case before it, the term “maliciously” did not
“require an actual intent to physically injure, intimidate or terrify others.” (Ibid.)
Accordingly, the court found that the error in the instruction on “recklessness” was
harmless given that there was sufficient evidence to support the higher culpability
standard of malice. (Ibid.) The committee did not incorporate the language from
Heideman in the definition of “maliciously” in this instruction because the
committee concluded that this case reflects unique facts and that the language
quoted is dicta, not essential to the ruling of the case.
See the Related Issues section to CALCRIM No. 2571, Carrying or Placing
Explosive or Destructive Device on Common Carrier.
CALCRIM No. 2577 WEAPONS
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against Public
Peace and Welfare, §§ 225-226, 227.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, § 140.04, Ch. 144, Crimes Against Order, § 144.01[e]
WEAPONS CALCRIM No. 2577