People v. Perez Case Brief

Summary of People v. Perez, S. Ct. CA In Bank 1992

Facts: Def Perez killed Victoria Mesa in her home, in Garden Grove CA. Her body was discovered by a neighbor and gas meter reader. Her body was clothed, face down arms under her head(bathroom) while her legs extended into the hallway. A steak knife (serrated 6in) with a broken handle was found under her head. No sign of forced entry and the only unlocked door was the front door. BluntFT to the head, 38 knife wounds, (26 stab, slash wounds, 12 punctures), two different knifes were used. Three wounds on the back were postmortem bounds. Def fingerprint was found in hallway. Blood samples were consistent with 1% of pop. Incl. Def. whose hand had a cut and received treatment at a hospital.

Issue: Whether evidence was sufficient to prove the act was premeditated and deliberate murder?

Holding: Yes.

Procedure: Court of Appeals was divided, dropped charges from First D Murder to Second, b/c of insufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation. Reversed.

Rule: First degree =All murder+any kind of willful, deliberate+premeditated killing + express malice. Willful=intentional. Deliberate=formed or arrived at or determined upon as a result of careful thought+weighing of considerations for AND against the proposed course of action. Premeditated = beforehand.

Rash and unconsidered impulse negates premed and delib.

Court Rationale: App. Ct misapplied Anderson. Anderson did not propose to define the elements of murder only serve as a standard of review of evidence in support of 1 degree Murder. Anderson guide: 1) Planning activity 2) Motive; 3) manner of killing are the pertinent categories to determine premed and delib. Commonly extremely strong evidence of 1) or evidence of 2) in conjunction with EITHER 3) or 1) is usually sufficient evidence to support conviction 1degree.

Evidence: (PLANNING) D did not park his car at the home, he surreptitiously entered the house, and he obtained a knife from kitchen. (MOTIVE) D first beat V then stabbed her to avoid identification. (Manner of KILLING) D reentered the kitchen to seek out another knife after first one broke.

The fact that D had to seek out another knife after breaking the first and inflicted more wounds, albeit postmortem, eliminates the “mere rash and impulsive," claims by D.

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