‘Kill Zone’ Prosecutions Limited by California Supreme Court

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – The California Supreme Court has limited so-called “kill zone” prosecutions, where defendants are charged with the attempted murder of people near a crime scene – regardless of whether those people were injured.

The Los Angeles Times reports the justices unanimously decided Monday to overturn the convictions of a gunman and accomplice who shot at a rival gang member. Both defendants were convicted of the attempted murder of the target and an unharmed man who was attending a block party where the shooting occurred.

In its decision, the court cautioned trial judges to allow the “kill zone” theory sparingly in the future.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote that the theory should be used only when there is evidence that a defendant had a specific intent to kill the target and everyone nearby.