Multiple Murder Special Circumstances Case
In People v. Marshall (1996) the defendant was charged with three first-degree murders, and a death sentence was sought by multiple-murder special-circumstances allegations.
The trial court decided not to present the issue of the multiple-murder special-circumstances allegation to the jury.
It reasoned that if the jury found defendant guilty of more than one of the murders charged, the special circumstances would be established without the need for any further finding.
The Supreme Court found this procedure constituted error, but was harmless. (Id. at p. 850.)