May 11, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

California Supreme Court Holds Attempted Murder May Be Found Where The Defendant Shoots At Group Of People With Intent To Kill A Person And Not Specific Victim

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court underscores the necessity of hiring an aggressive criminal defense attorney. The Court held in People v. Stone, that a defendant could properly be convicted of attempted murder, even if the defendant did not intend to kill a specific victim. In Stone, the defendant was charged with one count of attempted murder after he shot into a group of approximately 10 people.

Attempted murder requires “the specific intent to kill and the commission of a direct but ineffectual act toward accomplishing the intended killing.” The California Supreme Court heard the Stone case after the Court of Appeal reversed the attempted murder conviction. The appellate court reversed the conviction, concluding that the evidence showed that the defendant intended to kill someone, but not specifically the person he was charged with attempting to kill.

The issue before the California Supreme Court concerned the nature of the intent to kill requirement for attempted murder, and whether the intent must be to kill a particular person, or whether a generalized intent to kill someone, but not necessarily a specific target is sufficient. The Court concluded that a defendant, who intends to kill, could be guilty of attempted murder even if the defendant has no specific target in mind. The Court reasoned, “an indiscriminate would-be killer is just as culpable as one who targets a specific person.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a serious crime like murder, it is imperative that you hire an aggressive, experienced murder and violent crimes defense attorney. Hiring an experienced criminal defense law firm can greatly increase your chances of keeping your freedom, and ensuring you receive the lowest possible sentence. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people for over 30 years.

Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-466-5245 or go to our website at for more information.

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