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People v. Superior Court

Supreme Court of California
224 P.3d 86 (2010)


Facts

In People v. Taylor, 527 P.2d 622 (Cal.1974), Taylor, Daniels, and Smith planned to rob a liquor store owned by Jack and Linda West. Taylor remained in a vehicle while Daniels and Smith entered the store and robbed the Wests of money at gunpoint. During the altercation, a gun battle broke out during which the Wests shot and killed Smith. Taylor was charged with Smith’s murder on a theory of vicarious liability. Before Taylor’s trial, Daniels was tried for, but acquitted of Smith’s murder. In light of that verdict, the Taylor court held that the principle of collateral estoppel prohibited Taylor from being tried for the same murder. In People v. Sparks, a case with very similar facts, the California Supreme Court instructed the prosecution and the superior court to brief the question of whether Taylor should be overruled.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

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Holding and Reasoning (Chin, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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