CALCRIM No. 2578. Explosion of Explosive or Destructive Device Causing Death, Mayhem, or Great Bodily Injury (Pen. Code, § 18755)

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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2578.Explosion of Explosive or Destructive Device Causing
Death, Mayhem, or Great Bodily Injury (Pen. Code, § 18755)
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with (exploding/ [or]
igniting) (an explosive/ [or] a destructive device) causing (death[,]/
mayhem[,]/ [or] great bodily injury) to another person [in violation of
Penal Code section 18755].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
prove that:
1. The defendant willfully and maliciously (exploded/ [or] ignited)
(an explosive/ [or] a destructive device);
2. The explosion caused (death[,]/ mayhem[,]/ [or] great 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
someone else.
[Great bodily injury means significant or substantial physical injury. It is
an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.]
[Mayhem means unlawfully:
2. <A. Removing Body Part>
2. [Removing a part of someone’s body](;[ or]/.)
2. <B. Disabling Body Part>
2. [Disabling or making useless a part of someone’s body and the
disability is more than slight or temporary](;[ or]/.)
2. <C. Disfigurement>
2. [Permanently disfiguring someone](;[ or]/.)
2. <D. Tongue Injury>
2. [Cutting or disabling someone’s tongue](;[ or]/.)
2. <E. Slitting Nose, Ear, or Lip>
2. [Slitting someone’s (nose[,]/ear[,]/ [or] lip)](; or/.)
2. <F. Significant Eye Injury>
2. [Putting out someone’s eye or injuring someone’s eye in a way
that so significantly reduces his or her ability to see that the eye
is useless for the purpose of ordinary sight.]]
[A disfiguring injury may be permanent even though it can be repaired
by medical procedures.]
[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,
§ 16460>.]
[<insert type of destructive device from Pen. Code, § 16460>
is a destructive device.]
[The term[s] (explosive/ [and] destructive device) (is/are) defined in
another instruction.]
[An act causes (death[,]/ mayhem[,]/ [or] great bodily injury) if the
(death/injury) is the direct, natural, and probable consequence of the act,
and the (death[,]/ mayhem[,]/ [or] great bodily 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 (death[,]/ mayhem[,]/ [or] great
bodily injury). An act causes (death/injury) only if it is a substantial
factor in causing the (death/injury). A substantial factor is more than a
trivial or remote factor. However, it need not be the only factor that
causes the (death/injury).]
New January 2006; Revised February 2012, September 2020
Instructional Duty
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
(1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 620, 647, fn. 8 [3 Cal.Rptr.2d 343].)
The second sentence of the great bodily injury definition could result in error if the
prosecution improperly argues great bodily injury may be shown by greater than
minor injury alone. (Compare People v. Medellin (2020) 45 Cal.App.5th 519,
533-535 [258 Cal.Rptr.3d 867] [the definition was reasonably susceptible to
prosecutors erroneous argument that the injury need only be greater than minor]
with People v. Quinonez (2020) 46 Cal.App.5th 457, 466 [260 Cal.Rptr.3d 86]
[upholding instructions containing great bodily injury definition as written].)
Elements. Pen. Code, § 18755.
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. See 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].
Great Bodily Injury Defined. People v. Poulin (1972) 27 Cal.App.3d 54, 61 [103
Cal.Rptr. 623].
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].
Explosion of a Destructive Device Causing Injury. Pen. Code, § 18750; see
People v. Poulin (1972) 27 Cal.App.3d 54, 60 [103 Cal.Rptr. 623].
See the Related Issues section to CALCRIM No. 2571, Carrying or Placing
Explosive or Destructive Device on Common Carrier, and CALCRIM No. 2577,
Explosion of Explosive or Destructive Device Causing Bodily Injury.
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. 142, Crimes Against the Person,
§ 142.01[2][a][i], [ii], Ch. 144, Crimes Against Order, § 144.01[1][c] (Matthew

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