Tag Archives: Judge Duty to Instruct

Judge Has Sua Sponte Duty to Instruct on Lesser Offense of Involuntary Manslaughter Based on Commission of Inherently Dangerous Assaultive Felony
August 25th, 2022

The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on involuntary manslaughter based on the commission of an inherently dangerous assaultive felony and to instruct on the elements of the predicate offense(s). (People v. Brothers (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 24, 33–34; see also People v. Bryant (2013) 56 Cal.4th 959, 964.)

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Judge’s Duty to Draft and Give Instructions Not Included in CALCRIM
May 3rd, 2022

In People v. Pettigrew (2021) 62 Cal.App.5th 477, 500 the judge erroneously instructed the jurors that they could consider the defendant’s attempted suicide as flight per CC 372. Instead, because no CC instructions addressed the issue of attempted suicide vis-a-vis consciousness of guilt the judge (or prosecutor who had presented the attempted suicide evidence and […]

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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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