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People v. Najera
California Court of Appeal
41 Cal. Rptr. 3d 244 (2006)
Abimael Flores Najera (defendant) stabbed the victim after the victim called Najera a “jota,” which was translated at trial to mean “faggot.” The victim died nine hours later. Najera was charged with first-degree murder, for which the trial court provided an instruction, as well as to second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. During rebuttal and closing argument, the prosecutor focused on how the killer responded to the provocation and argued that it would not cause a reasonable person to kill. Najera was ultimately charged with second-degree murder and appealed, arguing the conviction should be reduced to voluntary manslaughter on several grounds. Most significantly, Najera contended that the prosecution committed misconduct by misstating the law of voluntary manslaughter and that his trial counsel was ineffective by failing to object to the misconduct.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fybel, J.)
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