Tag Archives: Consciousness of Guilt

Conscious of Guilt: Court Absences — Instruction Not Warranted for Brief Refusal to Attend Trial?
October 29th, 2019

People v. Gomez (Ruben P.) (2018) 6 Cal.5th 243 held that a permissive inference of consciousness of guilt is not appropriate simply because a defendant briefly refused to come to court.  There was no reason to think defendant’s refusal to come to court was indicative of consciousness of guilt. Gomez may simply have been tired […]


Is Flight Instruction Prejudicial Even Though Defendant Absent by Judge’s Order?
July 23rd, 2019

In People v. Johnson (2018) 6 Cal.5th 541 the judge excluded Johnson from the courtroom for the entire trial after he assaulted his lawyer; the jurors never saw or heard him.  At guilt phase, the judge instructed the jury not to consider his absence, but also gave a standard flight instruction that allowed use, with […]

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Is It Proper to Instruct That an Excluded Defendant Was “Voluntarily” Absent?
July 10th, 2019

In People v. Johnson (2018) 6 Cal.5th 541, 589 the judge excluded Johnson from the courtroom for the entire trial after he assaulted his lawyer; the jurors never saw or heard him.  The judge instructed the jury that defendant was “voluntarily” absent and they should not take this into account.  Defense counsel objected that the […]

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CC 362 Not Erroneous But “Can Be Improved”
July 3rd, 2019

In People v. Burton (2018) 29 Cal.App.5th 917 the defense contended that the “false statements” jury instruction (CC 362) created an impermissible inference that Burton committed first degree murder versus a lesser offense. Burton argued the CC 362’s reference to the “charged crime” undermined any claim that the defendant may have felt a consciousness of […]

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Jury Should Consider Defendant’s Mental Impairment in Deciding Whether False Statements Showed Consciousness of Guilt
August 2nd, 2016

In People v. McGehee (2016) 246 CA4th 1190 the defense argued that McGehee suffered from schizophrenic delusions involving demons and that he killed his mother during such an episode. The jury was instructed that if McGehee made any false or misleading statements related to the crime, that conduct may show consciousness of guilt. (CC 362.) […]

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Consciousness of Guilt: False Statements–Defense Theory Of Intoxication
May 1st, 2015

In general, voluntary intoxication may not be considered for general intent crimes. (People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal. 4th 1114, 1127-1128.)   However, voluntary intoxication may be relevant on the question of whether a defendant’s statements while intoxicated are probative of the defendant’s veracity within the meaning of CC 362. (People v. Wiidanen (2011) 201 […]

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Consciousness of Guilt: False Statements–Duty To Instruct Sua Sponte Is Unclear
April 27th, 2015

  The bench notes to CC 362 were revised to delete the statement that “The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on consciousness of guilt. . ..” The Committee concluded that it was ambiguous whether or not a sua sponte duty existed here. (Advisory Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions, Report to the Judicial […]

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Consciousness Of Guilt: False Statements–Not Applicable To Trial Testimony
April 24th, 2015

  Courts have said that CC 362 should not be used to permit an inference of consciousness of guilt based on knowingly false or intentionally misleading statements in a defendant’s trial testimony. (People v. Beyah (2009) 170 Cal. App. 4th 1241.) CC 362 was revised on August 14, 2009, in response to this concern. As […]

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False Statements And Criminal Street Gangs
March 1st, 2014

  People v. Fuentes (2009) 171 Cal. App. 4th 1139, held that CC 362 does not conflict with instructions on criminal street-gang participation.

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