California Legal Definition of Great Bodily Injury

In People v. Cole (1982) 31 Cal. 3d 568 [183 Cal. Rptr. 350, 645 P.2d 1182], the California Supreme Court explained the significance of the Legislature's diction when it enacted section 12022.7. The court concluded "that the individual accused of inflicting great bodily injury must be the person who directly acted to cause the injury. The choice of the word 'personally' necessarily excludes those who may have aided or abetted the actor directly inflicting the injury." (31 Cal. 3d at p. 572.) In other words, when "personally" is included in an enhancement statute, direct rather than derivative culpability is a precondition to increasing a sentence. (People v. Rodriguez (1990) 219 Cal. App. 3d 688, 693 [268 Cal. Rptr. 581].) Thus, the defendant must directly cause an injury, not just proximately cause it. (People v. Rodriguez (1999) 69 Cal. App. 4th 341, 347 [81 Cal. Rptr. 2d 567].) In this manner, the goal of deterring the infliction of great bodily injury can be accomplished. ( People v. Corona (1989) 213 Cal. App. 3d 589, 593 [261 Cal. Rptr. 765].)