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Pizano v. Superior Court

Supreme Court of California
577 P.2d 659 (1978)


Facts

Pizano and Esquivel (defendants) forced their way into Mr. Vaca’s home while armed with a pistol to rob him. Mrs. Fernandez and Mr. Cuna lived next door to Vaca. When Fernandez’s children saw two masked men enter Vaca’s house, Fernandez called the police, and Cuna grabbed his rifle and ran to Vaca’s house, saw the two men, and retreated to his porch. Pizano and Esquivel thought Cuna was a police officer. Esquivel grabbed Vaca to use as a shield and held him at gunpoint as the two men fled the house, telling Vaca they would kill him if the police intervened. As they fled, Cuna shot at Esquivel but hit Vaca, who Cuna had not seen. Cuna’s shot killed Vaca. Pizano and Esquivel were charged with murder and other charges related to the robbery. Pizano filed a motion to have the murder charge dismissed, which was denied. Pizano then filed a petition for a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court of California to prevent the superior court from proceeding with the murder charge.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clark, J.)

Dissent (Bird, C.J.)

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