Tag Archives: Judge Duty to Instruct


Judge’s Duties When Responding to Juror Requests for Instructional Clarification
July 9th, 2018

Duty to Consider Elaboration of Standard Instructions Pursuant to PC 1138, when the jurors “desire to be informed on any point of law arising in the case … the information required must be given ….” PC 1138 “imposes upon the court a duty to provide the jury with information the jury desires on points of law.” […]


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Judge Has Sua Sponte duty to Give Cautionary Instruction re: Jury Conduct But Standard of Prejudice Not Resolved
July 19th, 2016

In People v. Carter (2010) 182 CA4th 522, 531-534 the reviewing court held that the failure to give CC 101 sua sponte was error. However, the parties disagreed on whether the harmless error analysis should be governed by People v. Watson (1956) 46 Cal.2d 818, 836 [not reasonably probable a more favorable result would have […]


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When Is A Possession Of Property Owned By Another A Victim Of Robbery
September 18th, 2015

People v. Scott (2009) 45 Cal. 4th 743, 751-757, discussed the language in CC 1600 dealing with constructive possession of property by store employees. Scott disapproved the Court of Appeal’s opinion in People v. Frazer (2003) 106 Cal. App. 4th 1105, to the extent that Frazer found that courts should adopt a narrow view regarding […]


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Reasonableness Of Victim’s Fear: Request For Instruction As Defense Theory
September 14th, 2015

People v. Morehead (2011) 191 Cal. App. 4th 765, held that CC 1600 was not invalid for failing to instruct the jury that a robbery victim’s fear must be reasonable. Morehead simply held that the court does not have a sua sponte duty to instruct the jury that a robbery victim’s fear must be reasonable. […]


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Accident as Defense Theory: Not Required Sua Sponte
June 12th, 2015

  When the defense theory of accident is an attempt to negate the intent element of the crime, the trial judge has no sua sponte duty to give CC 3404. (CC 3404 Bench Notes, Citing People v. Anderson (2011) 51 Cal. 4th 989, 997-998.)


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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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Witness Credibility Factors: Sua Sponte Duty to Delete Inapplicable Factors
April 13th, 2015

  The court has a sua sponte duty to give an instruction on factors relevant to a witness’s credibility. However, not all of the factors will apply in each case. Therefore, the court should strike those factors inapplicable in a case. Failure to do so may cause jurors to speculate about what evidence was not […]


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Evidence Limited to Courtroom: Sua Sponte Duty to Admonish
April 10th, 2015

  The court has a sua sponte duty to give CC 101, limiting jurors to considering evidence that is presented in the courtroom. (See People v. Carter (2010)182 Cal. App. 4th 522.)   It is critical that jurors be instructed that they cannot conduct any independent research on a case and should not discuss the […]


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Attempted Criminal Threat Requires Dual Jury Findings
March 27th, 2015

  People v. Chandler (2014) 60 Cal. 4th 508, 524-525 relied on First Amendment concerns in construing PC 422 to require both a subjective and objective element:   To avoid substantial First Amendment concerns associated with criminalizing speech, we construe the offense of attempted criminal threat to require proof that the defendant had a subjective […]


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No Sua Sponte Duty To Instruct On Defense Theory That Negates An Element Of The Offense; IAC For Failure To Request Defense Theory Instruction
February 9th, 2015

  People v. Hussain (2014) 231 Cal. App. 4th 261, 269-72, extended the holding of People v. Anderson (2011) 51 Cal.4th 989, 998 [trial courts do not have a duty to instruct sua sponte on the defense of accident] to a situation where the defendant relied claim of right to negate the felonious intent to […]


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