Supreme Court of California Justia
Docket No. S111985

People v. Perez

Filed 6/20/05

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA

THE PEOPLE,
Plaintiff and Respondent,
S111985
v.
Ct.App.
4/3
G028325
GERARDO PEREZ,
Orange
County
Defendant and Appellant.
Super. Ct. No. SA00CF2039

A defendant is arrested in possession of methamphetamine precursors he
planned to sell. May the defendant be convicted of aiding and abetting the
prospective buyer’s possession of precursors with the intent to manufacture
methamphetamine? We conclude he may not. In the alternative, may the
defendant be convicted directly of possessing precursors with the intent to
manufacture methamphetamine? (Health & Saf. Code, former § 11383, subd.
(c)(2).)1 Again, we conclude he may not. We therefore affirm the Court of
Appeal’s reversal of defendant Gerardo Perez’s section 11383(c)(2) conviction.

1
All subsequent unlabeled statutory references are to the Health and Safety
Code. Former section 11383, subdivision (c)(2) (Stats. 1995, ch. 571, § 1,
p. 4418) is hereafter referred to as section 11383(c)(2). The section was amended
in 2003, but the amendments are not relevant to this opinion.
1


PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
An undercover police officer observed a transaction consistent with drug-
related activities between individuals in Perez’s car and those in a van. The police
initiated a traffic stop. During a consensual search of Perez’s car, an officer found
a small bag containing marijuana and two plastic shopping bags, one containing
approximately 10 pounds of red phosphorus and the other approximately five
pounds of powdered iodine. Officers also found a pair of jeans stained with a
yellow dye, later determined to be hydrogen iodide, a component of hydriodic
acid. Perez had $717 in cash on his person.
At trial, a forensic scientist testified that one method of manufacturing
methamphetamine involves combining a common cold medicine,
pseudoephedrine, with hydriodic acid. In turn, hydriodic acid can be produced by
mixing red phosphorus and iodine with water. When asked why a person would
possess red phosphorus and iodine together, the expert replied, “I see no other
purpose for it than to make hydriodic acid.” An experienced narcotics officer
testified that it is the rule, rather than the exception, for each of the ingredients
used in methamphetamine manufacturing to be provided by a different source.
Perez did not testify at trial. At the scene, he claimed ownership of the
hydrogen-iodide-stained jeans. In a statement to police, he admitted the chemicals
found in the car belonged to him. He told officers that he purchased the chemicals
for $350 from a woman known to him as “Vicky,” intending to take them to
Pasadena to sell for $400 to a man known to him as “Antonio.” He had purchased
these chemicals in similar amounts on one other occasion and knew they were
used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
2
Perez was charged with possessing hydriodic acid precursors with the intent
to manufacture methamphetamine. (§ 11383(c)(2).)2 The People proceeded under
two theories: that Perez was liable as a direct perpetrator because he possessed the
precursors and personally intended to manufacture methamphetamine or, in the
alternative, that Perez was liable as an aider and abettor because he possessed the
precursors with the intent to sell them to another person to be used in
manufacturing methamphetamine. During closing argument, the prosecution
argued, over Perez’s objection, that aiding and abetting liability required proof
only that Perez possessed the hydriodic acid precursors with the knowledge that
someone else would use them to manufacture methamphetamine. The trial court
prevented defense counsel from arguing that liability for aiding and abetting
required proof of a completed attempt or offense and denied a proposed special
instruction on this point, ruling that “[t]here’s no need for a completed crime under
the statute.” Instead, in accordance with the prosecution’s theory of the case, the
court gave CALJIC Nos. 3.00 and 3.01, standard instructions on aiding and
abetting.3 A jury convicted Perez of violating section 11383(c)(2).

2
“Any person who, with intent to manufacture methamphetamine or any of
its analogs . . . possesses hydriodic acid or any product containing hydriodic acid
is guilty of a felony . . . .” (§ 11383(c)(2).) At the time of the offenses, section
11383(c)(2) applied to possession of red phosphorus and iodine as well. Prior to
amendment in 2003, section 11383, subdivision (f) equated possession of
hydriodic acid precursors with possession of hydriodic acid. “Section 11383(f),
therefore, simply expanded the scope of section 11383(c)(2) to prohibit possession
of red phosphorus and iodine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.”
(People v. McCall (2004) 32 Cal.4th 175, 189.) The 2003 amendments to the
statute made the possession of red phosphorus and iodine with intent to
manufacture methamphetamine expressly illegal under section 11383, subdivision
(f), rather than section 11383(c)(2). (Stats. 2003, ch. 619, § 1.)
3
These instructions respectively provided:

(footnote continued on next page)
3


The Court of Appeal reversed. It held that aiding and abetting liability
required proof that a predicate crime had been committed separate and apart from
the actions of the aider and abettor, and that in the absence of proof of such a
crime the trial court erred by instructing the jury on aiding and abetting.
We granted review to clarify the scope of aiding and abetting liability, as
well as the scope of section 11383. Can conviction on an aiding and abetting
theory stand absent proof of a crime by a second party? If not, does section
11383(c)(2) directly criminalize possession of controlled substances with the
intent that someone else manufacture methamphetamine? Put differently, is
possession of hydriodic acid precursors with the intent that someone else use them
to manufacture methamphetamine criminal, under either an accomplice or direct
liability theory?

(footnote continued from previous page)
“Persons who are involved in committing a crime are referred to as
principals in that crime. Each principal, regardless of the extent or manner of
participation is equally guilty. Principals include: [¶] 1. Those who directly and
actively commit the act constituting the crime, or [¶] 2. Those who aid and abet
the commission of the crime.” (CALJIC No. 3.00.)
“A person aids and abets the commission of a crime when he or she:
[¶] (1) With knowledge of the unlawful purpose of the perpetrator, and
[¶] (2) With the intent or purpose of committing or encouraging or facilitating the
commission of the crime, and [¶] (3) By act or advice aids, promotes, encourages
or instigates the commission of the crime. [¶] A person who aids and abets the
commission of a crime need not be present at the scene of the crime. [¶] Mere
presence at the scene of a crime which does not itself assist the commission of the
crime does not amount to aiding and abetting. [¶] Mere knowledge that a crime is
being committed and the failure to prevent it does not amount to aiding and
abetting.” (CALJIC No. 3.01.)
4


DISCUSSION
I. Accomplice Liability: Aiding and Abetting
We consider first whether one can be guilty of aiding and abetting absent
proof of criminal conduct by some direct perpetrator. We begin with the plain
language of Penal Code section 31, which governs aiding and abetting liability.
The statute extends criminal liability as principals in a crime to “[a]ll persons
concerned in the commission of a crime,” and all those who “aid and abet in its
commission.” As this language makes plain, the commission of a crime is a
prerequisite for criminal liability. If the defendant himself commits the offense, he
is guilty as a direct perpetrator. If he assists another, he is guilty as an aider and
abettor. It follows, therefore, that for a defendant to be found guilty under an
aiding and abetting theory, someone other than the defendant must be proven to
have attempted or committed a crime; i.e., absent proof of a predicate offense,
conviction on an aiding and abetting theory cannot be sustained.
We analyzed aiding and abetting liability in detail in People v. McCoy
(2001) 25 Cal.4th 1111. There, we explained that an aider and abettor’s guilt “is
based on a combination of the direct perpetrator’s acts and the aider and abettor’s
own acts and own mental state.” (Id. at p. 1117, italics omitted.) “ ‘[O]nce it is
proved that “the principal has caused an actus reus, the liability of each of the
secondary parties should be assessed according to his own mens rea.” ’ ” (Id. at
p. 1118, quoting Dressler, Understanding Criminal Law (2d ed. 1995) § 30.06[C],
p. 450.) Thus, proof of aider and abettor liability requires proof in three distinct
areas: (a) the direct perpetrator’s actus reus—a crime committed by the direct
perpetrator, (b) the aider and abettor’s mens rea—knowledge of the direct
perpetrator’s unlawful intent and an intent to assist in achieving those unlawful
ends, and (c) the aider and abettor’s actus reus—conduct by the aider and abettor
that in fact assists the achievement of the crime. (See McCoy, at p. 1117.)
5
Consistent with these principles, we have explained that “[a]ccomplice
liability [including aider and abettor liability] is ‘derivative,’ that is, it results from
an act by the perpetrator to which the accomplice contributed.” (People v.
Prettyman (1996) 14 Cal.4th 248, 259, italics added.) This description squares
with the historical understanding of the doctrine, recounted by Judge Hand in
United States v. Peoni (2d Cir. 1938) 100 F.2d 401. As early as the 14th century,
English law punished those who “ ‘procured, counselled, commanded or abetted’
the felony.” (Id. at p. 402, quoting 2 Pollock & Maitland, The History of English
Law Before the Time of Edward I (2d ed. 1909) p. 509.) But such liability hinged
on the commission of a crime; thus, “[t]he man who has commanded or counselled
a murder has committed no crime until there has been a murder; but when the
murder is committed he is guilty of it.” (2 Pollock & Maitland, at p. 509.)
Though the subsequent development of the law of attempt has amended this
principle by allowing liability for substantial steps that fall short of achieving the
criminal end, it has not diluted the requirement that there be a second actor
engaged in criminal conduct whom the aider and abettor aids and abets.
The People argue that aiding and abetting liability does not require proof of
a completed crime. They further contend the Court of Appeal erred by relying on
People v. Parra (1999) 70 Cal.App.4th 222, which, they assert, misread our
decision in People v. Montoya (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1027.
The first half of this argument is correct: proof of an attempt by a direct
perpetrator is sufficient for purposes of aiding and abetting liability. If a direct
perpetrator is thwarted and guilty only of an attempt, an aider and abettor may still
be guilty of aiding and abetting the attempt. (See, e.g., People v. Lee (2003) 31
Cal.4th 613, 623-624; People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, 1123.)
The second half of the argument is incorrect: nothing in People v. Parra,
supra, 70 Cal.App.4th 222, or in the Court of Appeal’s decision below required
6
proof of a completed crime. In Parra, at page 227, footnote 5, the Court of
Appeal rejected the notion that a defendant could be convicted of aiding and
abetting possession of cocaine with intent to sell where the defendant possessed
cocaine with the intent to transfer it to a second person who would sell it. The
Court of Appeal reasoned that aiding and abetting liability could not apply because
“the crime of the alleged recipient/seller was never completed and the liability of
aider and abettor attaches only when all substantive elements of the predicate
offense are satisfied. (See People v. Montoya[, supra,] 7 Cal.4th [at pp.] 1040-
1041.)” This was an entirely correct statement of the law: aiding and abetting
liability cannot attach unless the substantive elements of a predicate offense are
met. This requirement may be satisfied by proof of an attempt, but contrary to the
People’s argument, nothing in Parra or in the Court of Appeal’s opinion here
indicated otherwise. Nor did Parra misread Montoya, a case that examined when
in the course of a burglary aiding and abetting liability could attach. Parra
correctly recognized what was implicit in Montoya—aiding and abetting liability
requires the completion of an independent substantive offense.
The real issue in this case is not whether proof of an attempted, rather than
a completed, crime by the direct perpetrator is sufficient, but whether either is
necessary. At trial, the People persuaded the court to give aiding and abetting
instructions despite the absence of proof of either a completed crime or an attempt.
The People eschewed any attempt theory, arguing instead that by intending to sell
the hydriodic acid precursors to Antonio, Perez aided and abetted Antonio’s
manufacture of methamphetamine. Whether the theory was that Perez intended to
aid and abet Antonio’s actual manufacture of methamphetamine (§ 11379.6, subd.
(a)) or to aid and abet Antonio’s possession of hydriodic acid precursors with the
intent to manufacture methamphetamine (§ 11383(c)(2)), no evidence established
that Antonio ever violated, or attempted to violate, either statute. Without proof of
7
a criminal act by Antonio to which Perez contributed, the prosecution could not
convict Perez as an aider and abettor. (See People v. Beeman (1984) 35 Cal.3d
547, 561; People v. Cooper (1991) 53 Cal.3d 1158, 1164.)
Consequently, the trial court erred in instructing the jury on aiding and
abetting. (See People v. Guiton (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1116, 1129 [“It is error to give
an instruction which, while correctly stating a principle of law, has no application
to the facts of the case”]; People v. Singleton (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 488, 493
[error to instruct on aiding and abetting absent proof of existence of direct
perpetrator].) The court also erred in preventing defense counsel from arguing
that the law of aiding and abetting, and CALJIC Nos. 3.00 and 3.01, require an
independent attempted or completed crime. Under the facts of this case, Perez
could be convicted as a direct perpetrator or not at all.
II. Direct Liability: Interpretation of Section 11383(c)(2)
The People argue that section 11383(c)(2) criminalizes possession with
intent that anyone manufacture methamphetamine, not just possession with the
intent to personally manufacture methamphetamine; hence, Perez was properly
convicted as a direct perpetrator because he possessed hydriodic acid precursors
with the intent that someone else use them to manufacture methamphetamine.
Preliminarily, we address Perez’s contention that this argument has been
forfeited. (See Cal. Rules of Court, rule 29.1(b)(3).) While this precise statutory
issue was not part of the People’s petition for review, we may consider all issues
fairly embraced in the petition. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 29(b)(1); People v.
Braxton (2004) 34 Cal.4th 798, 809.) The issue whether aiding and abetting
liability requires proof that the elements of the predicate offense were committed
by another, as we have determined it does, necessarily includes the issue whether
the court’s error in instructing the jury on aiding and abetting in the absence of
such evidence was harmless. The jury was instructed on the requirements of
8
section 11383(c)(2). If that section criminalizes possession of precursors with the
intent that someone else manufacture methamphetamine, i.e., if it directly
criminalizes the conduct tried under an aiding and abetting theory, then the court’s
error in instructing the jury on aiding and abetting would be harmless.
Turning to analysis of the statute, we begin with its language. Section
11383(c)(2) provides: “Any person who, with intent to manufacture
methamphetamine or any of its analogs . . . possesses hydriodic acid or any
product containing hydriodic acid is guilty of a felony . . . .” (Italics added.) The
subdivision is one of a series of provisions that criminalize possession of
precursors with the intent to manufacture specified controlled substances. (See
§ 11383, subds. (a)-(h).) The statute defines a crime with two elements:
(1) possession of specified chemicals, and (2) criminal intent. (See CALJIC No.
12.09.4.) Here, the first element is conceded, the second disputed. While the
People argue that the intent that anyone manufacture methamphetamine should
suffice, Perez argues that a defendant must intend to participate personally in
manufacturing methamphetamine. We agree with Perez.
First, the most sensible interpretation of the statute’s plain language is that
it requires intent to participate personally in manufacturing methamphetamine.
The statute requires that a person have the “intent to manufacture
methamphetamine,” not the “intent that methamphetamine be manufactured.” The
use of an active, not passive, construction implies that the subject of the sentence,
the defendant, must himself intend to participate in the manufacturing. Notably,
when the Legislature has chosen to criminalize actions taken with the intent that
someone else manufacture a controlled substance, it has used different language.
Section 11104, subdivision (a) punishes “[a]ny . . . person . . . that sells, transfers
or otherwise furnishes any of the substances listed in subdivision (a) of Section
11100 with knowledge or the intent that the recipient will use the substance to
9
unlawfully manufacture a controlled substance . . . .” (Italics added; cf. 21 U.S.C.
§ 841(c)(1), (2) [separately punishing possession of listed chemicals “with intent
to manufacture,” and possession “knowing . . . that the listed chemical will be used
to manufacture” a controlled substance].)
Second, we find the overall statutory context significant. (See Wilcox v.
Birtwhistle (1999) 21 Cal.4th 973, 977.) In the case where A supplies precursors
to B, who manufactures methamphetamine, there are in essence four sequential
steps: (1) A possesses the precursors, with the intent to sell or transfer them for
manufacture; (2) A sells or transfers them to B, with the knowledge or intent that
B will manufacture; (3) B possesses them with the intent to manufacture; and
(4) B manufactures. The Legislature has enacted a series of statutes that
separately address these steps in the manufacturing chain. Section 11378 makes
step 1, possession for sale, a felony punishable by 16 months, two years, or three
years. (See Pen. Code, § 18.) Section 11104 makes step 2, sale or transfer with
the knowledge or intent that the recipient will manufacture, a felony punishable by
16 months, two years, or three years, or a misdemeanor, depending on the nature
of the precursors.4 Section 11383 makes step 3, possession with the intent to
manufacture, a felony punishable by two, four, or six years. (§ 11383(c)(2).)
Section 11379.6 makes step 4, manufacturing, a felony punishable by three, five,
or seven years. (§ 11379.6, subd. (a).)
These statutes generally reflect a legislative judgment that each successive
step that moves closer to the actual manufacture of methamphetamine is a more

4
See sections 11104, subdivision (a), 11100, subdivision (a)(33), (36) (sale
or transfer of hydriodic acid or red phosphorus punishable as felony); sections
11104, subdivision (b), 11107.1, subdivision (a) (sale or transfer of iodine
punishable as misdemeanor).
10


serious crime meriting increased punishment—up to three years for step 1 or
step 2, up to six years for step 3, and up to seven years for step 4. Indeed, the sale
of methamphetamine and its manufacture originally were punished equally
(People v. Coria (1999) 21 Cal.4th 868, 878-879), but in 1985 the Legislature
passed section 11379.6 in order to “ ‘increase the penalties for those who illegally
manufacture controlled substances.’ ” (Coria, at p. 879, italics omitted.)
Notably, the statute that covers possession for sale of methamphetamine
precursors, section 11378, covers only certain precursors and does not extend to
the hydriodic acid precursors Perez possessed.5 The People would cure this
omission by arguing that even if Perez were guilty only of step 1, possession with
the intent to sell, this would be enough to convict and punish him under section
11383(c)(2), which also penalizes step 3, possession with the intent to
manufacture. But this interpretation would render possession with the intent to
sell, the lesser included conduct, a more serious crime than the sale itself (step 2).
(Compare § 11104, subd. (a) with § 11383(c)(2).) This is an anomalous result
inconsistent with the overall statutory structure.
Third, to the extent the legislative history underlying section 11383 sheds
any light, it indicates that the statute was aimed at shutting down the actual
manufacturing laboratories, not the manufacturers’ suppliers. Section 11383 was
enacted as part of the 1972 California Uniform Controlled Substances Act (Stats.
1972, ch. 1407, § 3, p. 3024), and the original legislative history offers no insight
into the section’s intended scope. In 1987, the Legislature significantly expanded

5
Section 11378 punishes possession for sale of the methamphetamine
precursors listed in section 11055, subdivision (f), but that subdivision covers only
phenylacetone, not red phosphorus, iodine, or even hydriodic acid. (§ 11055,
subd. (f)(1)(A); People v. Pierson (2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 983, 991.)
11


the range of precursor chemicals covered by adding subdivision (c) to the section.
(Stats. 1987, ch. 424, § 1, p. 1589.) Documents in support of the amendment
explained that, as written, section 11383 impaired raids on drug laboratories
because it did not cover new chemical combinations criminal chemists had
devised for manufacturing methamphetamine; thus, unless manufacturing had
begun, no arrests could be made. (See Youth and Adult Correctional Agency,
Enrolled Bill Rep. on Assem. Bill No. 2501 (1987-1988 Reg. Sess.) prepared for
Governor Deukmejian (Sept. 1, 1987) p. 3; Attorney General John Van de Kamp,
letter to Assemblywoman Lucy Killea [author of Assem. Bill No. 2501], Apr. 23,
1987.) The Attorney General sponsored the amendment to allow law enforcement
once again to “shut down illegal labs before the manufacturing process begins.
Illegal labs are more dangerous once the chemical ingredients are reacting
together. Shutting down labs before the drugs are manufactured helps to prevent
injuries to law enforcement and interrupts the flow of dangerous drugs to the
street.” (Assem. Com. on Pub. Safety, Rep. on Assem. Bill No. 2501 (1987-1988
Reg. Sess.) as amended Apr. 20, 1987, pp. 1-2; accord, Sen. Com. on Judiciary,
Rep. on Assem. Bill No. 2501 (1987-1988 Reg. Sess.) as amended May 19, 1987,
p. 3.) Discussion of the need for the bill focused exclusively on the need to shut
down the operators of methamphetamine laboratories.
In 1995, the Legislature amended section 11383 to add subdivision (c)(2),
covering possession of hydriodic acid or its precursors. (Stats. 1995, ch. 571, § 1,
p. 4418.) The amendment was passed to close a loophole in section 11383 that
had allowed illegal methamphetamine laboratory operators to purchase iodine and
iodine crystals and manufacture hydriodic acid from them. (Assem. Com. on Pub.
Safety, Rep. on Sen. Bill No. 419 (1995-1996 Reg. Sess.) as amended Mar. 28,
1995, pp. 2-3; People v. McCall, supra, 32 Cal.4th at pp. 190-191.) In contrast,
hydriodic acid suppliers were understood as being regulated under section 11100,
12
not section 11383. (Assem. Com. on Pub. Safety, Rep. on Sen. Bill No. 419
(1995-1996 Reg. Sess.) as amended Mar. 28, 1995, p. 1.) Thus, section 11383 was
understood as applying to those who were themselves operating methamphetamine
laboratories and who intended to participate in manufacturing methamphetamine,
not to the laboratories’ suppliers.
The People argue that other similar statutes have been construed to
criminalize possession with intent that someone else carry out a further prohibited
act. For example, section 11351 criminalizes “possess[ion] for sale” of specified
controlled substances. In People v. Consuegra (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 1726, 1732,
footnote 4, and People v. Parra, supra, 70 Cal.App.4th at pages 226-227, the
Courts of Appeal interpreted that language as extending to those who possess
controlled substances with the intent that someone else sell them.
Here, the covered acts, statutory context, and grammar are quite different.
Parra rested in part on the conclusion that there is “no meaningful distinction in
culpability between the defendant who actually sells the controlled substance and
the defendant who transports it with the specific intent that someone else will sell
it, as they both share in the specific intent to sell.” (People v. Parra, supra, 70
Cal.App.4th at p. 227; accord, People v. Consuegra, supra, 26 Cal.App.4th at
p. 1732, fn. 4 [“We see no meaningful distinction in culpability between the
individual who holds drugs to sell personally and the one who holds them for
others to sell”].) The same cannot be said of the person who intends to sell
precursor chemicals to a manufacturer and the person who intends to manufacture
the final illegal substance. The statutory context discussed above reflects a
legislative judgment that a person who intends to manufacture is more culpable
than a person who sells the manufacturer the necessary chemicals; it follows that a
13
person who intends to manufacture is also more culpable than a person who
intends to sell, but has not yet sold, the necessary chemicals.6 Finally, section
11351 criminalizes “possess[ion] for sale,” not “possession with intent to sell.”
This passive construction, unlike the construction used in section 11383(c)(2),
does not imply the possessor must also be the seller. Accordingly, Parra and
Consuegra, which concerned possession for sale and not possession with intent to
manufacture, are distinguishable.
Consequently, absent proof of intent to personally participate in
manufacturing, Perez could not be convicted as a direct violator of section
11383(c)(2).
The People argue that this interpretation of section 11383(c)(2), combined
with a determination that aiding and abetting liability requires a predicate offense
committed by a direct perpetrator, will hamper law enforcement efforts to shut
down drug trafficking by constraining officers to wait until drugs have been
delivered. Not so. A host of statutes criminalize involvement at various stages of
the drug manufacturing process. (See ante, at pp. 10-11.) In addition, the law of
attempt and conspiracy covers inchoate crimes and allows intervention before
transfer, sale, or manufacturing has been completed.
In any event, if gaps do exist, the answer lies with the Legislature, not with
the judicial distortion of either a centuries-old common law doctrine or the plain
language of a statute aimed at methamphetamine laboratories. Logically,
possession of methamphetamine precursors with intent to sell them to a

6
Put another way, whether one transfers controlled substances to a seller or
sells them, the vice is the same—that of distribution. In contrast, the supplier and
the manufacturer are guilty of distinct vices—distribution and creation—that the
legislative structure indicates should be treated differently.
14


methamphetamine manufacturer should be punishable under section 11378, but
the evolution of methamphetamine manufacturing methods appears to have
outpaced the statutory response. While the Legislature has amended sections
11100, 11104 and 11107.1 to regulate the sale of the methamphetamine precursors
here at issue, it has not yet updated section 11378 or the section it cross-
references, section 11055, subdivision (f), to regulate their possession for sale. If
the Legislature wishes to amend these provisions to address this gap, it may do so.
III. Harmless Error Analysis
Our interpretation of section 11383(c)(2) prevents us from concluding on
the basis of that statute that the errors involving aiding and abetting law were
harmless. We consider whether they were otherwise harmless in light of the
evidence and remaining theories presented to the jury.
As noted, the trial was infected by a pair of related errors. First, the trial
court gave instructions on aiding and abetting when no proof of an essential
element, an attempted or completed crime by a second party, had been introduced.
Second, the trial court prevented defense counsel from arguing that this omission
was fatal—that aiding and abetting in fact required proof of an independent
crime—and overruled the defense’s objection to prosecution argument that
omitted this element. These are state law errors subject to analysis under People v.
Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818, 836. “Under Watson, reversal is required if it is
reasonably probable the result would have been more favorable to the defendant
had the error not occurred.” (People v. Guiton, supra, 4 Cal.4th at p. 1130.)
The nature of this harmless error analysis depends on whether a jury has
been presented with a legally invalid or a factually invalid theory. When one of
the theories presented to a jury is legally inadequate, such as a theory that “ ‘fails
to come within the statutory definition of the crime’ ” (People v. Guiton, supra, 4
Cal.4th at p. 1128, quoting Griffin v. United States (1991) 502 U.S. 46, 59), the
15
jury cannot reasonably be expected to divine its legal inadequacy. The jury may
render a verdict on the basis of the legally invalid theory without realizing that, as
a matter of law, its factual findings are insufficient to constitute the charged crime.
In such circumstances, reversal generally is required unless “it is possible to
determine from other portions of the verdict that the jury necessarily found the
defendant guilty on a proper theory.” (Guiton, at p. 1130.)
In contrast, when one of the theories presented to a jury is factually
inadequate, such as a theory that, while legally correct, has no application to the
facts of the case, we apply a different standard. (See People v. Guiton, supra,
4 Cal.4th at pp. 1129-1130.) In that instance, we must assess the entire record,
“including the facts and the instructions, the arguments of counsel, any
communications from the jury during deliberations, and the entire verdict.” (Id. at
p. 1130.) We will affirm “unless a review of the entire record affirmatively
demonstrates a reasonable probability that the jury in fact found the defendant
guilty solely on the unsupported theory.” (Ibid.)
The errors here may be characterized as involving the presentation of either
a legally inadequate or a factually inadequate theory. We need not decide which
characterization is correct because under either harmless error test, the error was
prejudicial.
The prosecution argued to the jury a legally inadequate theory, the theory
that possession of hydriodic acid precursors, plus the intent that someone else use
them to manufacture methamphetamine, was criminal under either an aiding and
abetting theory or as a direct violation of section 11383(c)(2). The trial court
prevented defense counsel from pointing out the legal inadequacy of this theory.
Nothing in the record establishes that the jury necessarily rejected this theory and
instead convicted on the theory that Perez intended personally to manufacture
methamphetamine. “[W]hen the prosecution presents its case to the jury on
16
alternate theories, some of which are legally correct and others legally incorrect,
and the reviewing court cannot determine from the record on which theory the
ensuing general verdict of guilt rested, the conviction cannot stand.” (People v.
Green (1980) 27 Cal.3d 1, 69.)
We reach the same result if we focus on the instructions and treat the error
as a factual one. The jury was instructed with CALJIC No. 3.01, which correctly
recited that an aiding and abetting conviction requires proof the defendant has
“aid[ed], promote[d], encourage[d] or instigate[d] the commission of the crime.”
The giving of such a legally correct but inapposite instruction amounts to the
presentation of a factually inadequate theory. (See People v. Guiton, supra,
4 Cal.4th at pp. 1129-1130.) Our review of the record affirmatively demonstrates
a reasonable probability that the jury found defendant guilty solely on this
unsupported theory.
If, in light of the trial court’s rulings, we ignore the need to prove an
independent crime, the evidence of aiding and abetting was stronger than that
supporting any intent by Perez to personally manufacture methamphetamine. The
sole evidence tying Perez to personal methamphetamine manufacturing was that
he possessed iodine and red phosphorus, knew the chemicals he possessed could
be combined to make methamphetamine, and had a pair of hydrogen-iodide-
stained jeans. This same evidence equally supported the prosecution’s aiding and
abetting theory, but that theory was additionally supported by Perez’s admissions
to the police that he intended to sell the precursors to a third party and by the large
amount of cash found in his possession. A jury might well doubt Perez’s assertion
that he intended to drive from Santa Ana to Pasadena for a $50 profit, but it would
have to weigh any such doubt against the absence of evidence that Perez possessed
any of the numerous remaining chemicals or instruments required to complete the
manufacturing process (see People v. Pierson, supra, 86 Cal.App.4th at pp. 986-
17
987), omissions that undermined the personal manufacturing theory but not the
aiding and abetting theory.
Consistent with this state of the record, though the prosecution argued both
theories during closing argument, it led with and spent more time arguing its
aiding and abetting theory. Defense counsel likewise spent an extended period
rebutting this theory, but again, the trial court’s rulings precluded him from
pointing out its fatal flaw.
The jury returned a general verdict, which offered no clue as to which
theory it might have relied on in reaching a section 11383(c)(2) conviction. Given
the evidence and argument, we are persuaded there is a reasonable probability the
jury convicted Perez based solely on the unsupported aiding and abetting theory.
Consequently, the errors in instructing on this theory and barring defense counsel
from pointing out its flaws were prejudicial.
DISPOSITION
For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal
and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

WERDEGAR, J.
WE CONCUR:
GEORGE, C.J.
KENNARD, J.
BAXTER, J.
CHIN, J.

18





CONCURRING OPINION BY BROWN, J.
I agree with parts I and II of the majority opinion, and part III to the extent it
concludes that the jury was presented with a legally inadequate theory.
Here, as set forth in the majority opinion, the People proceeded on two
theories regarding the charge of possessing hydriodic acid precursors with the
intent to manufacture methamphetamine. (Health & Saf. Code, former § 11383,
subd. (c)(2), Stats. 1999, ch. 571, § 1, p. 4418; maj. opn., ante, at p. 3.) They
argued defendant was “liable as a direct perpetrator because he possessed the
precursors and personally intended to manufacture methamphetamine.” (Maj.
opn., ante, at p. 3.) In the alternative, the People argued defendant was “liable as
an aider and abettor because he possessed the precursors with the intent to sell
them to another person to be used in manufacturing methamphetamine.” (Ibid.)
“During closing argument, the prosecution argued, over [defendant’s] objection,
that aiding and abetting liability required proof only that [defendant] possessed the
hydriodic acid precursors with the knowledge that someone else would use them
to manufacture methamphetamine. The trial court prevented defense counsel from
arguing that liability for aiding and abetting required proof of a completed attempt
or offense and denied a proposed special instruction on this point, ruling that
‘[t]here’s no need for a completed crime under the statute.’ Instead, in accordance
with the prosecution’s theory of the case, the court gave CALJIC Nos. 3.00 and
3.01, standard instructions on aiding and abetting.” (Ibid.) The jury convicted



defendant, as relevant here, of violating Health and Safety Code former section
11383, subdivision (c)(2). (Ibid.)
In Griffin v. United States (1991) 502 U.S. 46 (Griffin), the high court “drew
a distinction between a mistake about the law, which is subject to the rule
generally requiring reversal, and a mistake concerning the weight or the factual
import of the evidence, which does not require reversal when another valid basis
for conviction exists.” (People v. Guiton (1993) 4 Cal.4th 1116, 1125 (Guiton).)
As the high court stated, “Jurors are not generally equipped to determine whether a
particular theory of conviction submitted to them is contrary to law – whether, for
example, the action in question is protected by the Constitution, is time barred, or
fails to come within the statutory definition of the crime. When, therefore, jurors
have been left the option of relying upon a legally inadequate theory, there is no
reason to think that their own intelligence and expertise will save them from that
error. Quite the opposite is true, however, when they have been left the option of
relying upon a factually inadequate theory, since jurors are well equipped to
analyze the evidence.” (Griffin, at p. 59.) In Guiton, this court adopted the Griffin
rule, which provides that “reversal is not required whenever a valid ground for the
verdict remains, absent an affirmative indication in the record that the verdict
actually did rest on the inadequate ground,” as state law for factually inadequate
theories, and retained the rule of People v. Green (1980) 27 Cal.3d 1, which
generally requires reversal “absent a basis in the record to find that the verdict was
actually based on a valid ground,” for legally inadequate theories. (Guiton, at pp.
1125, 1128-1129.)
Here, the jury was permitted to find defendant guilty of a violation of Health
and Safety Code former section 11383, subdivision (c)(2) on an aiding and
abetting theory in the absence of any proof of the completed crime of either
possession with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine or the actual
2

manufacture of methamphetamine by a second party, and the “People eschewed
any attempt theory.” (Maj. opn., ante, at p. 7.) The jury is ill-equipped to know
that aiding and abetting liability cannot exist under these circumstances, and hence
this theory was legally, not factually, inadequate.
While there may be some evidence of defendant’s intent to personally
manufacture methamphetamine, which was a proper legal and factual theory in
this case, the presence of the legally inadequate theory means that “the Green rule
requiring reversal applies, absent a basis in the record to find that the verdict was
actually based on a valid ground.” (Guiton, supra, 4 Cal.4th at p. 1129.) The
majority properly concludes that there can be no direct violation of Health and
Safety Code former section 11383, subdivision (c)(2) if one possesses hydriodic
acid precursors with the intent someone else use them in manufacturing
methamphetamine, and that the record does not demonstrate the jury actually
relied on the theory defendant possessed the precursors with the intent to
personally manufacture methamphetamine. (Maj. opn., ante, at pp. 8-18.) Hence,
the error is prejudicial under either the Chapman or Watson standard of review.
(Chapman v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 18, 24; People v. Watson (1956) 46
Cal.2d 818, 836.)
BROWN, J.
I CONCUR:
MORENO,
J.
3

See next page for addresses and telephone numbers for counsel who argued in Supreme Court.

Name of Opinion People v. Perez
__________________________________________________________________________________

Unpublished Opinion


Original Appeal
Original Proceeding
Review Granted
XXX 103 Cal.App.4th 203
Rehearing Granted

__________________________________________________________________________________

Opinion No.

S111985
Date Filed: June 20, 2005
__________________________________________________________________________________

Court:

Superior
County: Orange
Judge: Daniel J. Didier

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Appellant:

Michael Ian Garey for Defendant and Appellant.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Attorneys for Respondent:

Bill Lockyer, Attorney General, Robert R. Anderson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Gary W. Schons,
Assistant Attorney General, Garrett Beaumont, David Delgado-Rucci, Steven T. Oetting and Lise
Jacobson, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.



Counsel who argued in Supreme Court (not intended for publication with opinion):

Michael Ian Garey
714 North Spurgeon
Santa Ana, CA 92701
(714) 834-0950

Lise Jacobson
Deputy Attorney General
110 West “A” Street, Suite 1100
San Diego, CA 9201
(619) 645-2293


Opinion Information
Date:Docket Number:
Mon, 06/20/2005S111985

Parties
1Perez, Gerardo (Defendant and Appellant)
Represented by Michael Ian Garey
Attorney At Law
714 North Spurgeon Street
Santa Ana, CA

2The People (Plaintiff and Respondent)
Represented by David Delgado-Rucci
Office of the Attorney General
110 West "A" Suite 1100
San Diego, CA


Disposition
Jun 20 2005Opinion: Affirmed

Dockets
Dec 6 2002Petition for review filed
  In San Diego by counsel for Respondent {The People}.
Dec 10 2002Record requested
 
Dec 18 2002Received Court of Appeal record
  one doghouse
Jan 22 2003Petition for Review Granted (criminal case)
  Votes: George, CJ., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Brown and Moreno, JJ.
Jan 27 2003Received Court of Appeal record
  1-doghouse
Feb 5 2003Request for extension of time filed
  By counsel for Respondent {The People} asking until March 21, 2003 to file Respondent's Opening Brief on the Merits.
Feb 14 2003Extension of time granted
  To March 21, 2003 to file Respondent's Opening Brief on the Merits.
Mar 19 2003Request for extension of time filed
  By Respondent {The People} asking until May 21, 2003 to file Respondent's Opening Brief on the Merits.
Mar 27 2003Extension of time granted
  To May 21, 2003 to file Respondent's Opening Brief on the Merits. "No further extensions are contemplated."
May 9 2003Opening brief on the merits filed
  By Respondent {The People}.
Jun 5 2003Request for extension of time filed
  By Appellant asking until July 9, 2003 to file Appellant's Answer Brief on the Merits.
Jun 5 2003Extension of time granted
  To July 9, 2003 to file appellant's Answer Brief on the Merits.
Jul 1 2003Request for extension of time filed
  To July 23, 2003 to file Appellant's Answer Brief on the Merits..
Jul 9 2003Extension of time granted
  To July 23, 2003 to file Appellant's Answer Brief on the Merits.
Jul 23 2003Request for extension of time filed
  By appellant asking until August 6, 2003 to file Appellant's Answer Brief on the Merits.
Jul 28 2003Extension of time granted
  To August 6, 2003 to file Appellant's Answer Brief on the Merits. No further extensions are contemplated.
Aug 6 2003Request for extension of time filed
  answer brief/merits to 8-11-03>>appellant Gerardo Perez
Aug 7 2003Note:
  Message left for Attorney Garey that E.O.T. granted to 8/11/2003. " No further extensions will be granted." [order prepared]
Aug 7 2003Extension of time granted
  On applicationof appellant and good cause appearing, it is ordered that the time to serve and file the Answer Brief on the Merits is extended to and including August 11, 2003. No further extensions of tme will be granted.
Aug 11 2003Answer brief on the merits filed
  appellant Gerardo Perez
Sep 1 2003Time for filing final brief expired; case fully briefed
 
Mar 15 2004Received:
  Letter from counsel for appellant dated March 11, 2004 re additional authorities.
Mar 8 2005Case ordered on calendar
  Thurs. 4/7/05 @9am - Los Angeles
Mar 28 2005Supplemental brief filed
  Respondent ( People).
Apr 7 2005Cause argued and submitted
 
Jun 20 2005Opinion filed: Judgment affirmed in full
  and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Majority Opinion by Werdegar, J., ----- Joined by George, CJ., Kennard, Baxter and Chin, JJ. Concurring Opinion by Brown, J. ----- Joined by Moreno, J.
Aug 1 2005Remittitur issued (criminal case)
 
Aug 8 2005Received:
  receipt for remittitur CA 4/3.

Briefs
May 9 2003Opening brief on the merits filed
 
Aug 11 2003Answer brief on the merits filed
 
If you'd like to submit a brief document to be included for this opinion, please submit an e-mail to the SCOCAL website