What is the test for an attempted murder?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Barber, 2d Crim. No. B243668 (Cal. App. 2015):

"'Attempted murder requires the specific intent to kill and the commission of a direct but ineffectual act toward accomplishing the intended killing. [Citation.] Attempted murder requires express malice, that is, the assailant either desires the victim's death, or knows to a substantial certainty that the victim's death will occur.' [Citation.]" (People v. Houston, supra, 54 Cal.4th at p. 1217.)

An attempted murder is premeditated and deliberate if it resulted from the defendant's "'careful thought and weighing of considerations,'" rather than an "'unconsidered or rash impulse.'" (People v. Banks (2014) 59 Cal.4th 1113, 1153.) "'"[T]he process of premeditation and deliberation does not require any extended period of time. 'The true test is not the duration of time as much as it is the extent of the reflection. Thoughts may follow each other with great rapidity and cold, calculated judgment may be arrived at quickly[.]' [Citation.]"'" (People v. Watkins

Page 9

(2012) 55 Cal.4th 999, 1026.) In reviewing the sufficiency of a finding of premeditation and deliberation, courts often consider evidence of the defendant's planning, motive, and method, although these factors "need not be present in some special combination or afforded special weight, nor are they exhaustive. [Citation.]" (People v. Booker (2011) 51 Cal.4th 141, 173.)

There is sufficient evidence to support the attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder. Appellant approached Coffee, as if he were going to hug him, said he loved him, and cut his neck, near the jugular vein, just a quarter inch away from his carotid artery. He inflicted a deep wound that required two layers of stitches. Appellant's feigned friendly approach reflects his planning and deliberation. Coffee was unarmed. "In plunging the knife so deeply into such a vital area of the body of an apparently unsuspecting and defenseless victim, defendant could have had no other intent than to kill." (People v. Bolden (2002) 29 Cal.4th 515, 561.)

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