People v. Johnson – Aggravating Factors

People v. Johnson, California Supreme Court, November 25, 2019

Summary: In this capital case, the Supreme Court found several errors, but affirmed death.

The court explained that evidence of lack of remorse is generally inadmissible – “A lack of remorse is not enumerated as an aggravating factor under section 190.3. A prosecutor, therefore, should not argue that the absence of remorse is a factor in aggravation.”

The court explained that evidence of other crimes must meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard – “Section 190.3, factor (b) permits the jury to consider the “presence or absence of criminal activity by the defendant which involved the use or attempted use of force or violence or the
express or implied threat to use force or violence.” Before the evidence is presented to the jury, the trial court must determine that the evidence offered would allow a rational trier of fact to decide beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the criminal activity alleged under factor (b). (People v. Clair (1992) 2 Cal.4th 629, 676.)”

Sample Motion in Limine – Lack of Remorse: Download

Sample Motion in Limine – Prohibit Use of Bad Acts: Download

Court Opinion: Download

Keywords: Capital, Death Penalty, Aggravation, Remorse, Bad Acts, Prior Acts, Prior Conduct

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