People v. Hansen Case Brief

Summary of People v. Hansen
S. Ct. CA 1994

Facts: Defendant Hansen planned to purchase methamphetamine for $40 together with three others. The purchaser, Echaves, kept the $40 and absconded afterward. The defendant in an attempt to intimidate Echaves shot several times into the apartment killing Echaves’ step-daughter, Diane. Defendant confessed to firing into the apartment but not to kill.

Issue: Whether discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling house is a felony inherently dangerous to human life to secure a conviction for second degree murder and whether that doctrine applies here?

Holding: Yes, discharging is inherently dangerous and the felony murder rule applies in this case.

Procedure: Jury found defendant guilty of second degree murder and discharging a firearm at an inhabited building. Judgment affirmed.

Rule: Murder Rule 1) a homicide that is a direct causal result of the commission of a felony inherently dangerous to human life constitutes at least second degree murder. [In determining whether a felony is inherently dangerous we “look to the elements of the felony in the abstract, not the particular facts of the case."]

Reasoning: Application of the felony murder rule in this case would not subvert the Legislative intent, when the violation results in the death of a person, and the evidence supports the same the jury returned a correct verdict for second degree murder. Second degree lacks the specific intent of first degree which actually intends to injure someone.


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