Category Archives: Chapman: Shifting Burden

Where in a criminal case the court found or presumed federal constitutional trial error (Chapman v. California), did the court expressly or implicitly place on defendant the burden to show prejudice?

People v. Mil – 6/17/2010

People v. Mil

No. F056605 (opn 6/17/2010, rev gr 9/29/2010, S184665)

Year: 2010
Error: Selective vs. Whole-Record Review
Court: 5th District
Errors Found/Argued: Error found by another court

Summary: In People v. Mil (2012) 53 Cal.4th 400, the California Supreme Court – after agreeing with the Court of Appeal that the jury hadn’t been properly instructed on felony-murder special circumstances and that the trial error was subject to Chapman harmless error review (id. at 405, 408-417) – held that the Court of Appeal’s “analysis of the prejudicial effect of the instructional error suggests that it may have relied instead on the less demanding standard of whether that finding was supported by substantial evidence. The Court of Appeal’s discussion focused exclusively on evidence that was favorable to the verdict ….” (Id. at 417.) “[O]ur task in analyzing the prejudice from the instructional error is whether any rational factfinder could have come to the opposite conclusion.” (Id. at 418, original italics.) The instructional error therefore required reversal. (Id. at 418-419.)

Document Links:
Court of Appeal opinion (Google Scholar)
California Supreme Court opinion (Google Scholar)