Limiting Ability of Penalty Phase Jurors to Consider Consciousness of Guilt As Non-Statutory Aggravation
October 3rd, 2022

When consciousness of guilt evidence is admitted at the guilt trial of a death penalty trial that evidence may include “ ‘aggravating evidence of a type not statutorily authorized.’ [Citation.]” (People v. Anderson (2018) 5 Cal.5th 372, 393.) For example, consciousness of guilt may be interpreted by the jurors “as evidence of bad character, and thus as aggravating evidence of a type not statutorily authorized.” (People v. Champion (1995) 9 Cal.4th 879, 947.)


In such a situation counsel may wish to consider requesting a limiting instruction:


“”If defendants had requested the trial court to instruct the jury that it could consider this evidence only for the light it shed on defendants’ guilt, such an instruction would perhaps have been appropriate. Defendants, however, did not request such an instruction” People v. Anderson, supra, 5 Cal.5th at 393.)

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