Toledo Doctrine

What is the California Toledo doctrine ? The so-called Toledo doctrine ... actually refers to a principle of judicial review invoked in homicide prosecutions obviating a defendant's burden of showing mitigation or justification where the prosecution's proof itself tends to show same or a lesser unlawful homicide. The rule in its amended form is properly restricted to those cases where 'all the prosecution evidence points to excuse or mitigation. If there is substantial evidence incompatible with the theory of excuse of mitigation, the jury may consider all the evidence and determine whether the act amounted to unlawful homicide.' To the extent that the doctrine is founded upon a notion that the prosecution is bound by their witnesses' statements citation on the antiquated theory of vouchsafing one's own witnesses, that theory has long since been discarded in favor of the modern rule allowing impeachment of a witness by any party, 'including the party calling him.' In the final analysis the question of defendant's guilt must be resolved from all the evidence considered by the jury." (People v. Ross (1979) 92 Cal.App.3d 391, 400; accord, Matthews v. Superior Court (1988) 201 Cal.App.3d 385, 393-394.) In People v. Toledo (1948) 85 Cal.App.2d 577 , the defendant was charged with murder and convicted of manslaughter. He admitted striking the fatal blow, but claimed self-defense. the physical evidence was consistent with his version of events. Construing former section 1105, the appellate court held that a defendant need only raise a reasonable doubt with respect to self-defense; that the defendant's statement did so; and that there was no rational way to believe the defendant's concession that he struck the victim, yet reject the remaining exculpatory portion of his statement. Accordingly, the appellate court ruled, the record did not support the defendant's manslaughter conviction. (Toledo, supra, 85 Cal.App.2d at pp. 579-582.)