FORECITE Motion Bank #M-3005 (Re: Court Rules and Authority Establishing the Court’s Duty to Go Beyond CALJIC in Fashioning Instructions for the Particular Case Before the Court.)
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C. Logan McKechnie
ATTORNEY AT LAW
305 East 21 St. Street
Merced, California 95340
TEL: (209) 722-8800
FAX: (209) 722-8822
State Bar Number 077393
Attorney for Defendant
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF MERCED
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, CASE NO.
Plaintiff, POINTS, AUTHORITIES
AND ARGUMENTS IN
vs. SUPPORT OF DEFENSE’S
Defendant. JURY INSTRUCTIONS
NON-CALJIC INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE CONSIDERED BY THE COURT
In his request for certain instructions or modifications to standard CALJIC instructions in the above-entitled case, counsel has cited the authority of each of the instructions or modified instructions, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference, and attached as separate requests.
The law provides:
“A trial judge in considering instructions to the jury shall give no less consideration to those submitted by the attorneys for the respective parties than those contained in the latest edition of California Jury Instructions – Criminal (CALJIC).”
Exact quotation in apposite part from Section 5, Division 1, Appendix. California Rules of Court, Standards of Judicial Administration By The Judicial Council.
DUTY OF COURT TO GO BEYOND CALJIC
The rote recitation of general form instructions will not always suffice to fulfill the court’s instructional obligations, (People v. Thompkins (87) 195 CA3d 244, 250 [240 CR 516], see also, California Rules of Court, Appendix, Div. § 1, Section 5 [no preference to CALJIC instructions]; U.S. v. Lofton (10th Cir 85) 776 F2d 918, 922; Wright v. US. (D.C. Cir. 1957) 250 F2d 4. 11.) The court “should not require a party to rely on abstract generalities … but should instruct the jury in terms that relate to the particular case before it. [Citation].” (Fish v. L.A. Dodgers Baseball Club (76) 56 CA3d 620, 642 [128 CR 807]; see also People v. Rollo (90) 20 C3d 109, 123, fn 6 [141 CR 177].)
The trial court must give “no less consideration” to instructions requested by counsel than to those contained in CALJIC. (See Appendix to Calif. Rules of Court, Div.1. Section 5.) There is more than one correct way to express a thought and non-CALJIC instructions may be given when correct. (People v. Runnion (94) 30 CA4th 852 [36 CR2d 203].) “[T]he so-called CALJIC stereotyped instructions are no more sacrosanct than any others. Unless a particular instruction fits the evidentiary situation and presents a fair and impartial picture of the issues. It should not be given.” (People v. Mata (55) 133 CA2d 18, 21 [283 P2d 372].) “Although the CALJIC pattern instructions perform an invaluable service to the bench and bar, that those instructions are not sacrosanct is apparent from their treatment by the appellate courts.” (People v. Vargas (88) 204 CA3d 1455, 1464 [251 CR 904]; see also People v. Eckstrom (74) 43 CA3d 996, 1006 [118 CR 391]; Riordan & Gillette, Cal. Criminal Law, (CEB 1986) 32.18, p. 682.) “…[T]he trial court is not obligated … to repeat the words chosen by the CJ committee however helpful they may be. Instead, the trial court’s obligation is to state the law correctly.” (People v. Runnion (94) 30 CA 4th 852, 858 [36 CR 2d 203]), see also People v. Alvarez (96) 14 C4th 155, 217, “CALJIC 1.00 is not itself the law. Like other pattern instructions, it is merely an attempt at a statement thereof.”
It is also important to be generally aware of CALJIC’s limitations. CALJIC provides standard model instructions for general use in criminal trials and it reacts to chances in the law by providing new or revised instructions twice a year. However, there are at least three important roles which CALJIC does not fulfill.
First, there is no guarantee that any given CALJIC instruction is correct or complete. CALJIC instructions simply reflect the opinion of its committee and are not sacrosanct. (See People v. Vargas (88) 204 CA3 455, 1464 [251 CR 904].)
Second, CALJIC does not provide current jury instruction materials. For example. each pocket part is many months behind to start with and becomes up to a full year behind before receipt of the next pocket part.
Third, CALJIC normally does not provide comprehensive analysis of jury instruction issues and trends. For example, there are often important cases relevant to jury instructions pending in the California Supreme Court. None of these cases are referenced in CALJIC. There are literally hundreds of other jury instruction issues which have yet to be discussed by CALJIC.
THE JURY MUST BE INSTRUCTED ON ALL PERTINENT POINTS OF THE LAW
Penal Code Section 1093, subsection 6, provides that the trial judge … “must”…. charge the jury… “on any points of law pertinent to the issue.” (Penal Code Section 1093 in pertinent part). Therefore, the defendant has a right to an instruction that directs attention to evidence from which a reasonable doubt could be engendered.
“Section 1096a of the Penal Code declares that when the statutory definition of reasonable doubt is given (see Penal Code Section 1096), no other instruction need be given defining reasonable doubt. . Despite this section a defendant, upon proper request therefor, has a right to an instruction that directs attention to evidence from a consideration of which a reasonable doubt of his guilt could be engendered.”
Exact quotation from People v. Granados (57) 49 C2d 490 at pace 496 citing cases. People v. Hall (880) 28 C3d 143, 159; People v. Sears (70) 2 C3d 180. 190.
THE DEFENDANT HAS A RIGHT TO AN INSTRUCTION BASED UPON
THE DEFENSE THEORY OF THE CASE NO MATTER HOW WEAK THE
EVIDENCE AND BASED UPON THE HYPOTHESIS THAT THE
DEFENSE EVIDENCE IS ENTIRELY TRUE.
“A defendant is entitled to instruction on his theory of the case as disclosed by the evidence no matter how weal,, such evidence may be and, even though it may not be of a character to inspire belief and however incredible the evidence may be, the defendant is entitled to an instruction based upon the hypothesis that it is entirely true.”
Authority: Exact quotation from People vs. Clark 202 CA2d 513 at page 517 citing People v. Carmen 36 C2d 768 and People vs. Carnine, 41 C2d 384; People v. Warton (91) 522, 570.
Also, the defendant is entitled to instructions relating particular facts to any legal issue.
“A defendant is entitled to an instruction relating particular facts to any legal issue.”
Authority: People vs. Wright (88) 45 C3d 1126, 1136-37, People vs. Hall (80) 28 C3d 143, 159. People vs. Sears (70) 2 C3d 180, 190; see also 2003 CJER Mandatory Criminal Jury Instruction Handbook, § 3.4.
Also, the issues are determined by the evidence.
“It is a settled rule that jury instructions must be responsive to the issues. The issues in a criminal case are determined by the evidence … The fact that the evidence may not be of a character to inspire belief does not authorize the refusal of an instruction based thereon. That is a question within the exclusive province of the jury. However incredible the testimony of a defendant may be he is entitled to an instruction based upon the hypothesis that it is entirely true.”
Exact quotation from People vs Modesto (63) 59 C2d 722 at page 729 quoting from People v. Carmen (51) 36 C2d 768 at pages 722 through 733 with emphasis that of the California Supreme Court, People v. Bross (66) 240 CA2d 157, 169.
THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF LAW GOVERNING A CASE ARE THOSE
COMMONLY OR CLOSELY AND OPENLY CONNECTED WITH THE FACTS
“The general principles of law governing a case are those commonly or closely and openly connected with the facts of the case before the court.”
Exact quotation from People vs. Bross, 240 CA2d 157 at page 169 citing People vs. Wade, 53 C2d 322 at page 334; People v. Jones (97) 58 CA4th 693, 709.
A FACT REASONABLY INFERRED FROM THE CIRCUMSTANCES
WILL JUSTIFY AN INSTRUCTION
“To justify an instruction on an issue raised by the evidence, positive testimony is not required. it is sufficient if the fact may reasonably be inferred from circumstances proved.”
Exact quotation from People vs. Peete.. 54 CA 333 at page 359; see also People v. DeLeon (92) 10 CA4th 815, 824. Also,
“The right of counsel to discuss the merits of a case, both as to the law and facts, is very wide, and he has the right to state fully his views as to what the evidence shows, and as to the conclusions to be fairly drawn therefrom. The adverse party cannot complain if the reasoning be faulty and the deductions illogical, as such matters are ultimately for the consideration of the jury.”
Exact quotation from People vs. Sieber, 201 C 341 at pages 355 and 356 cited and quoted in People vs. Bievelman, 70 C2d 60 at pages 76 and 77; People v. Falck (97) 52 CA4th 289, 299.
Allowing an attorney to read portions of the proposed instructions to the jury during argument is within the discretion of the trial court.
People v. Calpito, 9 CA3d 212 at page 222 citing People vs. Conley, 134 CA2d 580 at page 582.
THE COURT MUST INSTRUCT ON ANY LESSER
INCLUDED OFFENSE SHOWN BY THE EVIDENCE
“The obligation to instruct on lesser included offenses exists even when as a matter of trial tactics a defendant not only fails to request the instruction but expressly objects to its being given.”
People v. Barton (95) 12 C4th 186, 194-195, People v. Sedeno (74) 10 C3d 703, 716.
Therefore, the defendant requests the following instructions or modifications be given to the jury and that the defense be allowed to quote to the jury from those instructions, given or not given.
C. LOGAN McKECHNIE
Attorney for Defendant