Aiding and Abetting First Degree Murder in California

In People v. Gonzales (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 1, the defendants were convicted as aiders and abettors of first degree murder. The jury was given CALJIC No. 3.02, on the liability of an aider and abettor for the natural and probable consequences of the target offense. The jury also was given CALJIC No. 9.00, defining the elements of the target offense of simple assault. Although there was evidence the perpetrator was armed when the assault occurred, the court held the trial court had no duty to instruct that the defendants had to have known the perpetrator was armed or would use a firearm in order to be guilty of murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine. ( Gonzales, supra, at p. 11.) Thus, at least implicitly, it rejected any requirement that the intended target offense had to be more than simple assault.