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REVERSAL: Trial Court's Failure to Instruct on 'Mistake of Fact' is Prejudicial

California v. Speck Docket: C093273 (Third Appellate District), Opinion Date: February 2, 2022. A jury found defendant Richard Speck guilty of felony vehicle theft and receiving stolen property with special allegations that the Honda was valued at over $950. Defendant testified; he denied stealing the Honda and knowing it was stolen or had been reported stolen. He claimed he had permission to drive the car and did not think it was stolen because it had an ignition that required particular keys and he had been given those keys; there were no red flags such as a “ripped ignition” or evidence of hot-wiring. Defense counsel requested the trial court instruct the jury with CALCRIM No. 3406 regarding mistake of fact, as to both counts, based on defendant’s testimony that he mistakenly but actually believed he had permission from the owner--Jason, whom defendant thought was the owner--to drive the car, which he mistakenly but actually believed was not stolen. Defendant contended on appeal that the trial court prejudicially erred in failing to instruct the jury on mistake of fact. After review of the record, the Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the judgment. #calcrim3406 #mistakeoffact #judgmentreversed

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