California Penal Code Section 182 - Interpretation

In People v. Cortez (1998) 18 Cal.4th, 1223, the California Supreme Court construed the foregoing language of Penal Code section 182 to mean there was no such crime as conspiracy to commit second degree murder, stating: "It logically follows that where two or more persons conspire to commit murder -- i.e., intend to agree or conspire, further intend to commit the target offense of murder, and perform one or more overt acts in furtherance of the planned murder -- each has acted with a state of mind 'functionally indistinguishable from the mental state of premeditating the target offense of murder.' (People v. Swain (1996) 12 Cal.4th 593, 608-609.) The mental state required for conviction of conspiracy to commit first degree murder necessarily establishes premeditation and deliberation of the target offense of murder -- hence all murder conspiracies are conspiracies to commit first degree murder, so to speak. More accurately stated, conspiracy to commit murder is a unitary offense punishable in every instance in the same manner as is first degree murder under the provisions of Penal Code section 182. ( Swain, supra, 12 Cal.4th at p. 609.)" ( People v. Cortez, supra, 18 Cal.4th at p. 1232.) The punishment for first degree murder in the circumstances of this case was 25 years to life. ( 190, subd. (a).)