Aug. 22, 2022 – People v. Hendrix (Supreme Ct., S265668)

At appellant’s jury trial for burglary, the court provided a mistake-of-fact instruction that erroneously required the mistake in question to be reasonable. Although the Supreme Court granted review to determine the correct standard of prejudice for such an error, the court declines to resolve this dispute, concluding that the erroneous instruction was prejudicial even under the less stringent Watson standard. The court observes that the Court of Appeal improperly “leaned heavily on its own view of the facts, rather than focusing its analysis on the error’s likely effect on the jury’s consideration of those facts.”