Tag Archives: Presumption of Innocence

Justice Liu Again Calls for the CSC to Revisit the Question of Whether PC 190.3 Factor(b) Violates Apprendi
July 26th, 2022

The Due Process Clause of the federal constitution (Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments) protect the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every essential fact and element of the charge. (In re Winship (1970) 397 US 358, 364 [90 SCt 1068; 25 LEd2d 368]; see also Fiore v. White (2001) 531 US […]

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Telling Jurors That the Presumption of Innocence Starts to Lift with the Testimony of the First Witness Is A “Significant Mischaracterization of the Law”
August 19th, 2021

“It is well established that the presumption of innocence continues into deliberations. [Citation to People v. Dowdell (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 1388, 1408.] It could hardly be otherwise, since jurors are required to keep an open mind and not begin to decide any issue—not only the ultimate issue of guilt—until all the evidence has been presented […]

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Deficiencies in Defense Evidence Cannot Make up for Shortcomings in Prosecution’s Evidence
August 13th, 2020

[Update of February 3rd, 2015 post] People v. Centeno (2014) 60 Cal. 4th 659 provides an important clarification of the presumption of innocence and the prosecution’s burden of proof: “…[D]eficiencies in the defense case [cannot] make up for shortcomings in [the prosecution’s case].” (Id., at 673.) For example, in People v. Brito (Sep. 19, 2019, […]

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Scales of Justice Metaphor Does Not Accurately Describe Burden of Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Which Requires That Proof That Goes “Substantially” Beyond a State of “Equipoise”
July 28th, 2019

In People v. Daveggio and Michaud (2018) 4 Cal. 5th 790, 838-44 the judge addressed several groups of prospective jurors who had yet to complete juror questionnaires. In each session the judge discussed the presumption of innocence and requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, in concepts such as the following: The most important concept […]

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Juror’s “Common Sense and Experience” May Not Override Presumption of Innocence
August 22nd, 2018

CC 105 and CC 226 — which tell the jurors to rely on their “common sense and experience” regarding their consideration of evidence – have been approved in an appellate ruling. (See People v. Campos (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 1228, 1239-1241; see also People v. Centeno (2014) 60 Cal.4th 659, 669 [“jurors may rely on common knowledge […]

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Party With Burden of Proof Loses When the Fact Finder is “On the Fence”
March 12th, 2018

Placing any burden at all on the defense, however slight, can be a “game changer” because such a burden requires uncertain or undecided jurors to side with the prosecution instead of the defense. In other words, when the fact finder is uncertain the unburdened party “‘must win.'[Citation.]” (People v. Jackson (2014) 58 Cal. 4th 724, […]

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CC 1191 Is Anomalous and Confusing When Evidence of the Uncharged Offense Consists Solely of the Victim’s Testimony
March 9th, 2018

The concurring opinion of Justice Perren in People v. Gonzales (2017) 16 Cal. App. 5th 494, 505-07 identified a serious problem with CC 1191 when the “the proffered evidence of the uncharged offenses consists solely of the victim’s testimony.” (Id. at 507.) The problem results from anomalous language in the instruction which allows the jurors […]

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Was the Maiden Voyage of the Titanic Merely “Incomplete”?
July 29th, 2016

In People v. Cortez (2016) 63 C4th 101 the prosecutor effectively told the jury that a non-imaginary belief is proof beyond a reasonable doubt: “The court told you that beyond a reasonable doubt is not proof beyond all doubt or imaginary doubt. Basically, I submit to you what it means is you look at the […]

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Improper to Instruct That an “Abiding Conviction” Means A Verdict “You Will Be Comfortable with … a Year from Now”
July 21st, 2016

In People v. Muniz [UNPUBLISHED] (2011) 198 CA4th 1324, at the beginning of voir dire, the judge instructed the jurors that in “plain English” an “abiding conviction” means “when you come to a verdict you will be comfortable with it the day you do it, two months or a year from now.” The majority opinion […]

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Improper to Describe Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt in Terms of “Every Day” Decisions
July 20th, 2016

In People v. Nguyen (1995) 40 CA4th 28, 35-37, the prosecutor told the jury that people apply the reasonable doubt standard “every day” and it is the same standard people customarily use in deciding whether to change lanes when driving or whether to get married. The court of appeal held that this argument trivialized the […]

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