March 2020 Revisions
March 31st, 2020

In November 2019 CALCRIM published proposed revisions in an Invitation to comment by December 20, 2019. The proposed revisions were to be effective March 24, 2020 after their approval by the Judicial Council at their meeting on that date. However, the Chief Justice cancelled the meeting while stating that “[a]ny pressing business of the Judicial Council can be postponed or accomplished by circulating order via email.” (See


It is unclear whether the jury instruction meeting was rescheduled or if the revisions were approved by “circulating order.” A September 2020 order stated, regarding ” Relevant Previous Council Action” that: “The council approved the last CALCRIM release at its April 2020 meeting.” (See,


However, there is no record of an April 2020 meeting during which jury instruction revisions were approved.



Typically, a record of meetings where instruction revisions were approved can be found on the Council’s website with a full agenda attached. Nor is there any record of the disposition of public comments received in response to the November/December 2020 Invitation to Comment.


Furthermore, every proposed change from the Invitation to Comment was incorporated into the published instructions verbatim. This suggests that the normal process of revising and tweaking the proposed changes in light of public input may not have occurred. [There does appear to be one typo in CC 703 which contains the following incomplete passage which was not in the proposed changes: “[• Did the present during the <insert underlying felony>?]”


Here is a list of the changes the instructions that were revised in April 2020. A copy of the Invitation to Comment can be found here:



Instruction Number Instruction Title



User Guide


101 & 200


Cautionary Admonitions




Accomplice Testimony




Failure to Explain or Deny Adverse Testimony




Presence of Support Person/Dog




Justifiable Homicide: By Public Officer


540B & 540C


Accomplice Liability Felony Murder




Murder: Alternative Theories




Vehicular Manslaughter: Collision for Financial Gain




Attempted Murder




Special Circumstances: Felony Murder



Testimony on Intimate Partner Battering and Its Effects; Testimony on Rape Trauma; Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome



Assault with Weapon or Force Likely




Sexual Penetration offenses