California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)
723. Special Circumstances: Murder to Prevent Arrest or Complete Escape, Pen. Code, § 190.2(a)(5)Download PDF
723.Special Circumstances: Murder to Prevent Arrest or
Complete Escape (Pen. Code, § 190.2(a)(5))
The defendant is charged with the special circumstance of murder (to
prevent arrest/ [or] to escape from custody) [in violation of Penal Code
To prove that this special circumstance is true, the People must prove
1. [The murder was committed to avoid or prevent a lawful
2.] [The murder was committed while completing or attempting to
complete an escape from lawful custody.]
<A. Lawful Arrest>
[In order for a killing to be committed for the purpose of avoiding or
preventing a lawful arrest, a lawful arrest must be [or appear to be]
[Instruction 2670 explains when an officer is lawfully arresting
<B. Escape From Custody>
[A killing is committed while completing or attempting to complete escape
from lawful custody if a person is killed during the escape itself or
while the prisoner[s] (is/are) ﬂeeing from the scene.
A killing is not committed while completing or attempting to complete
escape if the prisoner[s] (has/have) actually reached a temporary place
of safety before the killing.]
[Lawful custody includes (conﬁnement/placement) in (county jail/prison/
the California Youth Authority/work furlough/ <insert
name or description of other detention facility, see Pen. Code, § 4532>. [A
person is in lawful custody if he or she has been entrusted to the
custody of an officer or other individual during a temporary release
from the place of conﬁnement.]]
New January 2006
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on the elements of the special
circumstance. (See People v. Williams (1997) 16 Cal.4th 635, 689 [66 Cal.Rptr.2d
573, 941 P.2d 752].)
Intent to kill is not required for the actual killer but is required for an accomplice.
If the evidence raises the issue of accomplice liability, the court has a sua sponte
duty to instruct on that issue. (See People v. Jones (2003) 30 Cal.4th 1084, 1117
[135 Cal.Rptr.2d 370, 70 P.3d 359].) Give CALCRIM No. 702, Special
Circumstances: Intent Requirement for Accomplice After June 5, 1990—Other Than
Felony Murder. If the homicide occurred prior to June 5, 1990, give CALCRIM
No. 701, Special Circumstances: Intent Requirement for Accomplice Before June 6,
Give the bracketed paragraph stating that the arrest must be “imminent” only if the
evidence does not clearly establish that an arrest would have been made in the near
future. (See People v. Bigelow (1984) 37 Cal.3d 731, 752 [209 Cal.Rptr. 328, 691
P.2d 994]; People v. Cummings (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1233, 1300–1301 [18 Cal.Rptr.2d
796, 850 P.2d 1].) For example, it may be appropriate to instruct that the arrest
must be imminent if no peace officer is present or if the decedent is not a peace
officer. (See People v. Cummings, supra, 4 Cal.4th at pp. 1300–1301; but see
People v. Vorise (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 312, 322 [85 Cal.Rptr.2d 12].)
If the lawfulness of the arrest is an issue, give relevant portion of CALCRIM No.
2670, Lawful Performance: Peace Offıcer, and the bracketed sentence telling the
jury that CALCRIM No. 2670 explains lawful arrest.
Give the bracketed paragraphs deﬁning “completing or attempting to complete
escape” if there is an issue in the case about whether the defendant had reached a
temporary place of safety prior to the killing. (See People v. Bigelow (1984) 37
Cal.3d 731, 754 [209 Cal.Rptr. 328, 691 P.2d 994].)
Give the bracketed paragraph explaining lawful custody if there is an issue about
whether the defendant was in lawful custody. (See Pen. Code, § 4532; People v.
Diaz (1978) 22 Cal.3d 712, 716–717 [150 Cal.Rptr. 471, 586 P.2d 952].)
• Special Circumstance. Pen. Code, § 190.2(a)(5).
•Arrest Must Be Imminent. People v. Bigelow (1984) 37 Cal.3d 731, 752 [209
Cal.Rptr. 328, 691 P.2d 994]; People v. Coleman (1989) 48 Cal.3d 112, 146
[255 Cal.Rptr. 813, 768 P.2d 32]; People v. Cummings (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1233,
1300–1301 [18 Cal.Rptr.2d 796, 850 P.2d 1].
• Killing During Escape Must Be During Hot Pursuit. People v. Bigelow (1984)
37 Cal.3d 731, 754 [209 Cal.Rptr. 328, 691 P.2d 994].
• Lawful Custody. See Pen. Code, § 4532 (escape from custody); People v. Diaz
(1978) 22 Cal.3d 712, 716–717 [150 Cal.Rptr. 471, 586 P.2d 952].
3 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Punishment, § 442.
4Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 87, Death
Penalty, § 87.13 (Matthew Bender).
HOMICIDE CALCRIM No. 723