What Is the Legal Definition of ''Mayhem'' ?
Mayhem is a general intent crime. (People v. Lopez (1986) 176 Cal. App. 3d 545, 549-550 222 Cal. Rptr. 101.)
No specific intent to maim or disfigure is required.
Mayhem, like the offense here, is defined in part by the harm that results from the defendant's conduct whether or not the defendant intended that result.
One who unlawfully strikes another without the specific intent to commit the crime of mayhem is still guilty of that crime if the blow results in the loss or disfigurement of a member of the body or putting out of the eye of the victim. (Goodman v. Superior Court (1978) 84 Cal. App. 3d 621, 624 148 Cal. Rptr. 799.)
Penal Code section 203 provides: "Every person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of his body, or disables, disfigures, or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, or puts out an eye, or slits the nose, ear, or lip, is guilty of mayhem."
But, the general intent to commit mayhem does not satisfy the felony-murder rule. (See People v. Lopez, supra, 176 Cal. App. 3d 545.)
The defendant must also specifically intend to inflict the required harm. (Ibid.; accord, People v. Anderson (1965) 63 Cal. 2d 351, 358-359 46 Cal. Rptr. 763, 406 P.2d 43.)
"Under the felony murder doctrine, the intent required for a conviction of murder is imported from the specific intent to commit the concomitant felony. . . . to presume an intent to maim from the act or type of injury inflicted, and then to transfer such 'presumed intent' to support a felony murder conviction is artificially to extend the fiction. We cannot compound such fictions. the doctrine of felony murder, therefore, must be limited to those cases in which an intent to commit the felony can be shown from the evidence." (People v. Sears, supra, 62 Cal. 2d 737, 745.)