A state appeals court panel upheld a man’s conviction for fatally shooting an acquaintance in the face during an argument near a police station in Huntington Park three years ago.
In a ruling released Monday, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that the judge in Jorge Mario Godoy’s murder trial erred in failing to instruct jurors on self-defense and voluntary manslaughter.
Godoy was convicted in October 2016 of second-degree murder for the March 5, 2015, killing of Daniel Ivan Santamaria Ramirez. Jurors acquitted him of the more serious charge of first-degree murder.
“The trial court here correctly omitted a self-defense instruction, because there was no substantial evidence from which the jury could have found Godoy acted in self-defense or the defense of others, and the instruction ran counter to his theory of defense at trial,” the panel found in its 17-page ruling. “Godoy did not testify that he intentionally shot Ramirez because he believed deadly force was required to defend himself or anyone else from an imminent attack. Instead, he testified that the gun accidentally discharged when he struck Ramirez with it.”
Godoy was sentenced in January 2017 to 25 years to life, but the state appellate court panel cited a new state law in ordering the case to be sent back to the trial court for a hearing to exercise its discretion in determining whether to strike or dismiss a firearm use enhancement that added 10 years to his sentence.