Can You Be Convicted of Assault If the Victim Was Not Specifically Identified ?
In People v. Griggs (1989) 216 Cal. App. 3d 734, 265 Cal. Rptr. 53 the defendant fired a revolver into a large crowd of people.
He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon based on the testimony of an officer who saw him fire the weapon into the crowd.
He claimed on appeal that he could not be convicted of assault with a deadly weapon because a victim was not specifically identified.
The Court rejected his argument and described the necessary attributes of a victim for purposes of assault with a deadly weapon.
"The victim's fear, lack of fear, injury, or lack of injury are not elements which need to be proved or disproved. All that is necessary is that there is a victim; the characteristics of the victim are not critical elements of the offense. the law is seeking to punish the reckless disregard of human life, and what needs to be shown is that a human life was threatened in the manner proscribed...." ( Id. at p. 742.)