Return to Return to Non-CALJIC Defenses – Contents
Receiving Stolen Property: Innocent Intent Defense
To be guilty of receiving or concealing stolen property the defendant must, at the time [he] [she] initially received or concealed the property, have wrongfully intended to aid the thief, deprive the owner of possession, make it more difficult for the owner to discover the theft or to collect a reward. The mere receipt or concealment of stolen property, with knowledge that it has been stolen, is not itself a crime if the property was received or concealed with the intent to restore it to the owner without reward or with any other innocent intent. If you have a reasonable doubt whether the defendant had the required wrongful intent, you must give [him] [her] the benefit of that doubt and find [him] [her] not guilty.
Points and Authorities
Because PC 496 requires wrongful or criminal intent (see PC 20), the mere receipt of stolen goods with knowledge that it has been stolen is not itself a crime if the property was received with intent to restore it to the owner without reward or with any other innocent intent. (People v. Wielograf (80) 101 CA3d 488, 494 [161 CR 680]; see also People v. Dishman (82) 128 CA3d 717, 720-23 [180 CR 467]; FORECITE F 9.40a [claim of right negates wrongful intent in theft and robbery cases].) However, the innocent intent must exist at the moment the stolen property was accepted by the receiver. (Wielograf 101 CA3d at 494.)
The above instruction sets forth the prosecution’s burden regarding wrongful intent following accepted CALJIC format. (See CJ 5.15, CJ 4.31, CJ 4.50, CJ 2.91; see also, People v. Simon (95) 9 C4th 493, 500-01 [37 CR2d 278] [trial court is required to instruct on who has the burden and the nature of that burden as to defense theories]; EC 502; FORECITE F 4.45a.)
Failure to adequately instruct the jury upon matters relating to proof of any element of the charge and/or the prosecution’s burden of proof thereon violates the defendant’s state (Art. I, § 15 and § 16) and federal (6th and 14th Amendments) constitutional rights to trial by jury and due process. [See generally, FORECITE PG VII(C).]
For claim of right instructions, see FORECITE F 9.40a and F 9.40b.