What are the factors leading up to a reversal of a jury's verdict in a case of imperfect self-defense?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Wachter, G040314 (Cal. App. 12/18/2009), G040314. (Cal. App. 2009):

We also know from the jury's verdict and deliberations that it did not consider this to be an "open and shut" case against appellants. It spent five days mulling over the evidence, and even without instructions on the defense of others, it acquitted appellants on the charges of murder and attempted murder. These factors militate in favor of a reversal. (See People v. Randle, supra, 35 Cal.4th at p. 1004 [in finding the trial court's failure to instruct on imperfect self-defense to be prejudicial error, the court observed "the jury, even without having been instructed on this theory, took five days to reach its decision."]; People v. Vasquez (2006) 136 Cal.App.4th 1176 [failure to instruct on imperfect self-defense deemed prejudicial where the jury spent three days deliberating on the case and rejected the prosecutor's theory that the defendant committed murder in the first degree].)

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