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Sufficiency Claim Based on Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine Rejected

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By FindLaw Staff on February 16, 2010 1:51 PM

In People v. Ayala, No. A122412, the California Court of Appeals for the Fourth District faced a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a second-degree murder conviction under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.

The court stated: "the fatal shooting was a natural and probable consequence of a planned physical attack by multiple gang members upon perceived rival gang members even though the shooting occurred at the start of the confrontation and no assault with fists, baseball bats, knives, or other weapons preceded the shooting. A defendant may be convicted under the natural and probable consequences doctrine even if the target criminal act (here, allegedly assault with a baseball bat) was not committed."

The Court affirmed the conviction in concluding that defendant participated with fellow gang members in a planned physical attack upon perceived rival members during which defendant's confederate shot and killed one of the intended victims, and thus, the shooting was a natural and probable consequence of the gang attack. 

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