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People v. Saille

Supreme Court of California
820 P.2d 588 (1991)


Saille (defendant) had been drinking beer all day when he went to a cafe around 9:00 p.m. After a short time there, the café’s security guard, David Ballagh, asked Saille to leave because he appeared intoxicated. Saille left but returned an hour later and Ballagh reminded him that he could not come inside the cafe. Saille again returned to the cafe around 11:00 p.m., and was rebuffed once again by Ballagh. As he was leaving Saille told Ballagh, “I'm going to get a gun and kill you.” Saille went home, retrieved a semiautomatic rifle, and returned to the cafe. As Saille entered the cafe, Ballagh tried to grab the gun. It discharged, killing a patron named Guadalupe Borba. Saille was eventually subdued, but both he and Ballagh had been shot during the struggle. Saille was charged with first-degree murder of Borba and attempted murder of Ballagh. At trial, evidence showed that Saille’s blood alcohol content (BAC) had been .19 at the time of the shooting. The trial court instructed the jury that voluntary intoxication could be considered in determining whether Saille had the specific intent to kill. While the trial court included instructions on voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, it only did so related to the specific intent to kill. Saille was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder and he appealed. The court of appeals affirmed and the Supreme Court of California granted review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Panelli, J.)

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