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F 4.36 n1 Giving Of CJ 4.36 In Specific Intent Case As Reversible Error.
In People v. Anderson UNPUBLISHED (C016582), the court improperly gave CJ 4.36 — which states that ignorance of the law is no excuse — when the defendant was charged with the specific intent crimes of perjury and writing checks on insufficient funds. (PC 118; PC 476a.) The Court of Appeal held that the error was harmless as to the check writing charges because mistake of law was not at issue as to those charges. However, the court reversed the perjury convictions because the evidence did raise a question as to whether the defendant was mistaken regarding his reporting obligations and the trial court had a sua sponte obligation to instruct correctly upon the legal principles relating to this factual issue. [A copy of the opinion and briefing in Anderson is available to FORECITE subscribers. Ask for Opinion Bank # O-183 and Brief Bank # B-643.]
F 4.36 n2 Error To Give CJ 4.36 In Sex Offender Registration (PC 290) Cases.
(See People v. Garcia (2001) 25 C4th 744, 754 [107 CR2d 355] [court erred in giving “ignorance of the law is no excuse” instruction (CJ 4.36) “which on its face would allow the jury to convict defendant of failing to register even if he were unaware of his obligation to do so”]; see also People v. Hagen (98) 19 C4th 652, 660 [80 CR2d 24] [statutory “willfulness” requirement creates exception to common law presumption that ignorance or mistake of law is no excuse].)
(See FORECITE F 18.56 n12.)
F 4.36a Mistake Of Law: Negates Specific Intent
See FORECITE F 3407 Inst 3.