Transferred Intent Doctrine in an Attempted Murder Case

In People v. Bland (2002) 28 Cal.4th 313, the Court barred the application of the doctrine of transferred intent to the crime of attempted murder.

In Bland the defendant had fired at a car driven by a rival gang member, killed the intended target and also wounded two passengers. (Bland, supra, 28 Cal.4th at p. 318.)

The defendant challenged his convictions for attempted murder of the two passengers, raising the questions, in the Court's words, "how can a jury rationally decide which of many persons the defendant did not intend to kill were attempted murder victims on a transferred intent theory? To how many unintended persons can an intent to kill be transferred?" (Id. at p. 329.)

The Court concluded the doctrine of transferred intent does not extend to what it described at one point as "an inchoate crime like attempted murder." (Id. at p. 327.)