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Kill Zone Theory Instruction Reversed

People v. Mumin Court: Supreme Court of California, Docket: S271049, Opinion Date: August 17, 2023. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeal affirming Defendant's convictions for, among other crimes, first degree murder and two counts of attempted, premeditated murder of a police officer and his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, holding that the trial court's erroneous concurrent intent instruction was prejudicial as to one attempted murder count. At issue was the proper standard of review when a defendant challenges a court's decision to instruct on a concurrent intent - or kill zone - theory as applied to an allegation of attempted murder. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals to the extent it affirmed one of Defendant's attempted murder convictions based on the concurrent intent theory, holding (1) the substantial evidence standard applies to giving or reviewing a concurrent intent instruction; (2) a concurrent intent instruction was not supported by substantial evidence; and (3) the error was prejudicial as to one of the attempted murder counts.

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