How have courts interpreted the definition of gross negligence under section 192(c)(3) of the California Highway Code?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Conlin, 2 Cal.App.4th 1113, 282 Cal.Rptr. 646 (Cal. App. 1991):

[2 Cal.App.4th 1121] In People v. McNiece (1986) 181 Cal.App.3d 1048, 226 Cal.Rptr. 733, disapproved on another point in People v. McFarland (1989) 47 Cal.3d 798, 805, 254 Cal.Rptr. 331, 765 P.2d 493, defendant left a dinner party shortly before midnight. He drove through a stopsign without stopping or slowing, travelling at 50-55 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, and struck the victim's car broadside. Defendant had a blood alcohol level of .155 percent. A fifth district panel reversed a conviction under former section 192(c)(3) on the ground that the definition of gross negligence was improperly presented to the jury. The jury had been given a standard instruction distinguishing ordinary from gross negligence, but the prosecutor had argued, without objection, that the fact of defendant's intoxication was itself sufficient to constitute gross negligence.

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