CALCRIM No. 562. Transferred Intent

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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562.Transferred Intent
<A. Only unintended victim is killed.>
[If the defendant intended to kill one person, but by mistake or accident
killed someone else instead, then the crime, if any, is the same as if the
intended person had been killed.]
<B. Both intended and unintended victims are killed.>
[If the defendant intended to kill one person, but by mistake or accident
also killed someone else, then the crime, if any, is the same for the
unintended killing as it is for the intended killing.]
New January 2006
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction if transferred intent is one
of the general principles of law relevant to the issues raised by the evidence.
(People v. Hood (1969) 1 Cal.3d 444, 449 [82 Cal.Rptr. 618, 462 P.2d 370].)
Give optional paragraph A if only an unintended victim is killed. Give optional
paragraph B if both the intended victim and an unintended victim or victims are
killed. (See discussion in Commentary, below.)
Any defenses that apply to the intended killing apply to the unintended killing as
well. (People v. Mathews (1979) 91 Cal.App.3d 1018, 1024 [154 Cal.Rptr. 628].)
This includes defenses that decrease the level of culpable homicide such as heat of
passion or imperfect self-defense.
Do not give this instruction for a charge of attempted murder. The transferred intent
doctrine does not apply to attempted murder. A defendant’s guilt of attempted
murder must be judged separately for each alleged victim. (People v. Bland (2002)
28 Cal.4th 313, 327-328, 331 [121 Cal.Rptr.2d 546, 48 P.3d 1107]; see CALCRIM
No. 600, Attempted Murder.)
Related Instructions
Always give the appropriate related homicide instructions.
Common Law Doctrine of Transferred Intent. People v. Mathews (1979) 91
Cal.App.3d 1018, 1024 [154 Cal.Rptr. 628].
Intent Transfers to Unintended Victim
“[A] person’s intent to kill the intended target is not ‘used up’ once it is employed
to convict the person of murdering that target. It can also be used to convict of the
murder of others the person also killed . . . . [A]ssuming legal causation, a person
maliciously intending to kill is guilty of the murder of all persons actually killed. If
the intent is premeditated, the murder or murders are first degree . . . . Intent to kill
transfers to an unintended homicide victim even if the intended target is killed.”
(People v. Bland (2002) 28 Cal.4th 313, 322, 323-324, 326 [121 Cal.Rptr.2d 546,
48 P.3d 1107] [disapproving People v. Birreuta (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 454, 458,
463 [208 Cal.Rptr. 635]].)
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Elements, §§ 13-15.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, § 140.02[3][b], Ch. 142, Crimes Against the Person,
§ 142.01[2][b][vii] (Matthew Bender).

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