California Penal Code Section 12022.53(D) - Interpretation

Section 12022.53, subdivision (d) applies to one "who . . . personally and intentionally discharges a firearm and proximately causes . . . death . . . ." Section 12022.53, subdivision (e) extends the enhancement created by subdivision (d) of the statute to "any person who is a principal in the commission of an offense" where that person violates "subdivision (b) of Section 186.22," and "any principal in the offense committed any act specified in subdivision . . . (d)." In People v. Zarazua (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 1348, the court held subdivision (d) applied to two defendants convicted of murder who fired guns at a car carrying rival gang members, causing the car to run a stop sign and strike another car, killing one of the latter vehicle's occupants. The court declared subdivision (d) of "the statute applies, by its terms, to personal and intentional discharge of a firearm which 'proximately causes . . . death.' The Legislature could have, but did not, state that the statute applies when a defendant shoots someone, causing that person's death. Instead, the statute is worded much more broadly, setting up proximate cause as the required nexus between the personal discharge and the death. " (People v. Zarazua, supra, 162 Cal.App.4th at p. 1360.)