CALCRIM No. 580. Involuntary Manslaughter: Lesser Included Offense (Pen. Code, § 192(b))
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)Download PDF
580.Involuntary Manslaughter: Lesser Included Offense (Pen.
Code, § 192(b))
When a person commits an unlawful killing but does not intend to kill
and does not act with conscious disregard for human life, then the crime
is involuntary manslaughter.
The difference between other homicide offenses and involuntary
manslaughter depends on whether the person was aware of the risk to
life that his or her actions created and consciously disregarded that risk.
An unlawful killing caused by a willful act done with full knowledge and
awareness that the person is endangering the life of another, and done in
conscious disregard of that risk, is voluntary manslaughter or murder.
An unlawful killing resulting from a willful act committed without intent
to kill and without conscious disregard of the risk to human life is
The defendant committed involuntary manslaughter if:
1. The defendant committed (a crime/ [or] a lawful act in an
2. The defendant committed the (crime/ [or] act) with criminal
3. The defendant’s acts caused the death of another person.
[The People allege that the defendant committed the following crime[s]:
<insert misdemeanor[s]/infraction[s])/noninherently dangerous
Instruction[s] tell[s] you what the People must prove in
order to prove that the defendant committed <insert
misdemeanor[s]/infraction[s])/ noninherently dangerous (felony/felonies)>.]
[The People [also] allege that the defendant committed the following
lawful act[s] with criminal negligence: <insert act[s]
Criminal negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness,
inattention, or mistake in judgment. A person acts with criminal
1. He or she acts in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death
or great bodily injury;
2. A reasonable person would have known that acting in that way
would create such a risk.
In other words, a person acts with criminal negligence when the way he
or she acts is so different from the way an ordinarily careful person
would act in the same situation that his or her act amounts to disregard
for human life or indifference to the consequences of that act.
[An act causes death if the death is the direct, natural, and probable
consequence of the act and the death 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. An act causes death only if
it is a substantial factor in causing the death. A substantial factor is more
than a trivial or remote factor. However, it does not need to be the only
factor that causes the death.]
Great bodily injury means significant or substantial physical injury. It is
an injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.
[The People allege that the defendant committed the following (crime[s]/
[and] lawful act[s] with criminal negligence): <insert alleged
predicate acts when multiple acts alleged>. You may not find the
defendant guilty unless all of you agree that the People have proved that
the defendant committed at least one of these alleged acts and you all
agree that the same act or acts were proved.]
In order to prove murder or voluntary manslaughter, the People have
the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant
acted with intent to kill or with conscious disregard for human life. If
the People have not met either of these burdens, you must find the
defendant not guilty of murder and not guilty of voluntary
New January 2006; Revised April 2011, February 2013, September 2018
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on involuntary manslaughter as a lesser
included offense of murder when there is sufficient evidence that the defendant
lacked malice. (People v. Glenn (1991) 229 Cal.App.3d 1461, 1465-1467 [280
Cal.Rptr. 609], overruled in part in People v. Blakeley (2000) 23 Cal.4th 82, 91 [96
Cal.Rptr.2d 451, 999 P.2d 675].)
When instructing on involuntary manslaughter as a lesser offense, the court has a
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sua sponte duty to instruct on both theories of involuntary manslaughter
(misdemeanor/infraction/noninherently dangerous felony and lawful act committed
without due caution and circumspection) if both theories are supported by the
evidence. (People v. Lee (1999) 20 Cal.4th 47, 61 [82 Cal.Rptr.2d 625, 971 P.2d
1001].) In element 2, instruct on either or both of theories of involuntary
manslaughter as appropriate.
The court has a sua sponte duty to specify the predicate misdemeanor, infraction or
noninherently dangerous felony alleged and to instruct on the elements of the
predicate offense(s). (People v. Milham (1984) 159 Cal.App.3d 487, 506 [205
Cal.Rptr. 688]; People v. Ellis (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 1334, 1339 [82 Cal.Rptr.2d
409]; People v. Burroughs (1984) 35 Cal.3d 824, 835 [201 Cal.Rptr. 319, 678 P.2d
894], disapproved on other grounds in People v. Blakeley (2000) 23 Cal.4th 82, 89
[96 Cal.Rptr.2d 451, 999 P.2d 675].)
If causation is at issue, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on proximate
cause. (People v. Bernhardt (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 567, 590-591 [35 Cal.Rptr.
401].) If the evidence indicates that there was only one cause of death, 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 death, the court
should also give the “substantial factor” instruction in the second bracketed
paragraph on causation. (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].) See also CALCRIM No. 620, Causation: Special Issues.
In cases involving vehicular manslaughter (Pen. Code, § 192(c)), there is a split in
authority on whether there is a sua sponte duty to give a unanimity instruction
when multiple predicate offenses are alleged. (People v. Gary (1987) 189
Cal.App.3d 1212, 1218 [235 Cal.Rptr. 30], overruled on other grounds in People v.
Flood (1998) 18 Cal.4th 470, 481 [76 Cal.Rptr.2d 180, 957 P.2d 869]; People v.
Durkin (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d Supp. 9, 13 [252 Cal.Rptr. 735]; People v. Mitchell
(1986) 188 Cal.App.3d 216, 222 [232 Cal.Rptr. 438]; People v. Leffel (1988) 203
Cal.App.3d 575, 586-587 [249 Cal.Rptr. 906].) A unanimity instruction is included
in a bracketed paragraph, should the court determine that such an instruction is
• Involuntary Manslaughter Defined. Pen. Code, § 192(b).
• Due Caution and Circumspection. People v. Penny (1955) 44 Cal.2d 861,
879-880 [285 P.2d 926]; People v. Rodriguez (1960) 186 Cal.App.2d 433, 440
[8 Cal.Rptr. 863].
• Criminal Negligence Requirement; This Instruction Upheld. People v. Butler
(2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 998, 1014 [114 Cal.Rptr.3d 696].
• Unlawful Act Not Amounting to a Felony. People v. Thompson (2000) 79
Cal.App.4th 40, 53 [93 Cal.Rptr.2d 803].
• Unlawful Act Must Be Dangerous Under the Circumstances of Its
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Commission. People v. Wells (1996) 12 Cal.4th 979, 982 [50 Cal.Rptr.2d 699,
911 P.2d 1374]; People v. Cox (2000) 23 Cal.4th 665, 674 [97 Cal.Rptr.2d 647, 2
• Proximate Cause. People v. Roberts (1992) 2 Cal.4th 271, 315-321 [6
Cal.Rptr.2d 276, 826 P.2d 274]; People v. Rodriguez (1960) 186 Cal.App.2d 433,
440 [8 Cal.Rptr. 863].
• Lack of Due Caution and Circumspection Contrasted With Conscious Disregard
of Life. People v. Watson (1981) 30 Cal.3d 290, 296-297 [179 Cal.Rptr. 43,
637 P.2d 279]; People v. Evers (1992) 10 Cal.App.4th 588, 596 [12 Cal.Rptr.2d
• Inherently Dangerous Assaultive Felonies. People v. Bryant (2013) 56 Cal.4th
959, 964 [157 Cal.Rptr.3d 522, 301 P.3d 1136]; People v. Brothers (2015) 236
Cal.App.4th 24, 33-34 [186 Cal.Rptr.3d 98].
LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES
Involuntary manslaughter is a lesser included offense of both degrees of murder, but
it is not a lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter. (People v. Orr (1994)
22 Cal.App.4th 780, 784 [27 Cal.Rptr.2d 553].)
There is no crime of attempted involuntary manslaughter. (People v. Johnson (1996)
51 Cal.App.4th 1329, 1332 [59 Cal.Rptr.2d 798]; People v. Broussard (1977) 76
Cal.App.3d 193, 197 [142 Cal.Rptr. 664].)
Aggravated assault is not a lesser included offense of involuntary manslaughter.
(People v. Murray (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 1133, 1140 [84 Cal.Rptr.3d 676].)
Imperfect Self-Defense and Involuntary Manslaughter
Imperfect self-defense is a “mitigating circumstance” that “reduce[s] an intentional,
unlawful killing from murder to voluntary manslaughter by negating the element of
malice that otherwise inheres in such a homicide.” (People v. Rios (2000) 23 Cal.4th
450, 461 [97 Cal.Rptr.2d 512, 2 P.3d 1066] [citations omitted, emphasis in
original].) However, evidence of imperfect self-defense may support a finding of
involuntary manslaughter, where the evidence demonstrates the absence of (as
opposed to the negation of) the elements of malice. (People v. Blakeley (2000) 23
Cal.4th 82, 91 [96 Cal.Rptr.2d 451, 999 P.2d 675] [discussing dissenting opinion of
Mosk, J.].) However, a court should not instruct on involuntary manslaughter unless
there is evidence supporting the statutory elements of that crime.
See also the Related Issues section to CALCRIM No. 581, Involuntary
Manslaughter: Murder Not Charged.
4 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against the
Person, §§ 246-260.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
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Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.02[a][i] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, §§ 140.02, 140.04, Ch. 142, Crimes Against the Person,
§§ 142.01[d.1], [e], 142.02[a], [b], [e], [f], [b], [c] (Matthew Bender).
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