Tag Archives: Consciousness of Guilt

Does Defendant’s Temporary Refusal to Attend Trial Justify A Consciousness of Guilt Instruction?
October 24th, 2022

In People v. Gomez (2018) 6 Cal.5th 243, 283 the defendant briefly refused to leave his jail cell and attend trial before the deputy sheriff advised him that an extraction order had been issued by the judge.  Defendant’s disobedience resulted in a 38-minute delay in the proceedings. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge […]


CSC Identifies Problems in CJ 2.28 Which Also Apply to CC 306
October 27th, 2021

In People v. Nieves (2021) ______Cal 5th ______(May 3, 2021, S092410) [pp. 68-69] the CSC concluded that: …[I] was error to instruct the jury with CALJIC former No. 2.28, given the deficiencies we have identified in that instruction [Citation to People v. Thomas (2011) 51 Cal.4th 449, 483] and the scope of discovery violations in […]

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Death Penalty: Consciousness of Guilt as Aggravation — Limiting Instruction Must Be Requested
May 9th, 2020

In People v. Anderson (2018) 5 Cal.5th 372 the defendant, after the capital murder occurred in San Diego, traveled to Oregon, was arrested there, and later made plans to escape from the county jail in Oregon.  The CSC held that the evidence was not only admissible at the culpability phase to show consciousness of guilt, […]

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Consciousness of Guilt: Using Evidence Code 353 to Get a Limited Admissibility Instruction
April 17th, 2020

–Consciousness of Guilt and Mens Rea. Consciousness of guilt evidence is widely accepted as admissible to prove that the defendant was …. consciousness that he has committed some wrongdoing. (People v. Bolin (1998) 18 Cal.4th 297, 327; see also e.g, CC 372 [“awareness of guilt”].) However, it is also accepted that the defendant’s awareness of […]

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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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