CALCRIM No. 548. Murder: Alternative Theories

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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548.Murder: Alternative Theories
The defendant has been prosecuted for murder under multiple theories.
Each theory of murder has different requirements, and I will instruct
you on each.
You may not find the defendant guilty of murder unless all of you agree
that the People have proved that the defendant committed murder. You
need not all agree on the same theory but you must unanimously agree
on the degree of murder.
New January 2006; Revised August 2014, February 2016, September 2019, April
2020
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
This instruction should be given after the court has given any applicable instructions
on defenses to homicide and before CALCRIM No. 520, Murder With Malice
Aforethought.
If there is evidence of multiple acts from which the jury might conclude that the
defendant killed the decedent, the court may be required to give CALCRIM No.
3500, Unanimity. (See People v. Dellinger (1984) 163 Cal.App.3d 284, 300-302
[209 Cal.Rpt. 503] [error not to instruct on unanimity where evidence that the
victim was killed either by blunt force or by injection of cocaine].) Review the
Bench Notes for CALCRIM No. 3500 discussing when a unanimity instruction is
required.
AUTHORITY
• Unanimity on Degrees of Crime and Lesser Included Offenses. Pen. Code
§ 1157; People v. Sanchez (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1012, 1025 [164 Cal.Rptr.3d.
880]; People v. Aikin (1971) 19 Cal.App.3d 685, 704 [97 Cal.Rptr. 251],
disapproved on other grounds in People v. Lines (1975) 13 Cal.3d 500, 512 [119
Cal.Rptr. 225].
• Alternate Theories May Support Different Degrees of Murder. People v.
Sanchez (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1012, 1025 [164 Cal.Rptr.3d. 880].
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