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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Breaking Case News: Tenth Circuit Says Charge for Lesser Included Offense Cannot Be Conditioned on Abandoning Inconsistent Defense

Tenth_circuit_2The Tenth Circuit held this month in U.S. v. Trujillo (also available here) that a district court may not condition a jury instruction regarding a lesser included offense on the defendant's agreement to abandon a defense inconsistent with that lesser offense.  The defendant was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and requested a charge to the jury for mere possession, a lesser included offense.  The district court declined to give the instruction because the defendant had refused to abandon his inconsistent defense that he was not aware of the cocaine found in his car.  [Mark Godsey]

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