CC 105 Is Correctly Given When Evidence Is Conflicting as to Whether a Witness’s Character for Untruthfulness Was Discussed
August 4th, 2016

In People v. Jimenez (2016) 246 CA4th 726 the trial court properly instructed jury that it could conclude the character for truthfulness of a witness (the alleged victim) was good based on lack of discussion of character in community where one witness (Hoffman) testified regarding lack of discussion, but other witnesses testified that the witness was known to lie.

The optional language in CC 105 states that “if the evidence establishes that a witness’s character for truthfulness has not been discussed among the people who know him or her, you may conclude from the lack of discussion that the witness’s character for truthfulness is good.” This optional language is not legally erroneous because it reiterates the principle articulated in People v. Adams (1902) 137 Cal. 580, and a number of subsequent decisions, that the lack of discussion in the community regarding a person’s character trait may be used by the trier of fact to infer that the person’s character for that trait is good.

Hoffman’s testimony provided evidence which, if believed by the jurors, would have allowed them to conclude that the witness’s character had not been discussed in the community.

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