Does a jury have to convict a defendant of involuntary manslaughter based on a charge of reckless driving based upon a finding of criminal negligence?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Jones, F063909 (Cal. App. 2014):

Defendant argues this instruction was erroneous as it neglected to inform the jury that defendant's act must have been committed with criminal negligence. (People v. Cox (2000) 23 Cal.4th 665, 675 [involuntary manslaughter based upon misdemeanor conduct requires a showing the misdemeanor was dangerous to life under circumstances of its commission]; People v. Butler (2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 998, 1008 [conviction of involuntary manslaughter based upon an act amounting to a misdemeanor resulting in another's death requires a finding of criminal negligence].) We need not determine whether the instruction omitted a necessary element because assuming error, it was necessarily harmless.

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