Supreme Court of California
14 Cal. Rptr. 3d 281 (2004)
Cavitt (defendant) and Williams (co-defendant) made and executed a plan with Cavitt’s girlfriend (Mianta) to rob the home of Mianta’s 58-year-old stepmother, Betty. On December 1, 1995, Cavitt and Williams entered the home with Mianta’s help and, as planned, covered Betty with a sheet, tied her up and stole guns, jewelry, and other valuable items from the home. They left her face-down on the bed, tied up and beaten. In an effort to make Mianta look like a victim, Cavitt and Williams left her at the house tied up as well. Mianta eventually untied herself and called her father to inform him of the crime, but at that point Betty had already died of asphyxiation. Cavitt and Williams were charged with felony murder under § 189 of the California Penal Code. At trial, the defense offered evidence to support its theory that Mianta intentionally killed her stepmother after Cavitt and Williams completed their escape out of a personal vendetta, and therefore the felony murder rule did not apply. The trial court denied a defense request for a jury instruction to the effect that felony murder requires that the killing be “in furtherance of” the underlying felony. Cavitt and Williams were convicted in separate trials of felony murder. The Court of Appeal affirmed their convictions. Cavitt and Williams appealed to the Supreme Court of California.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 200,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.