Criminal Law

1751. Defense to Receiving Stolen Property: Innocent Intent

The defendant is not guilty of receiving (stolen/extorted) property if (he/she) intended to (return the property to its owner/ [or] deliver the property to law enforcement) when (he/she) (bought/ received/concealed/withheld) the property.

If you have a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant intended to (return the property to its owner/ [or] deliver the property to law enforcement) when (he/she) (bought/received/ concealed/withheld) the property, you must find (him/her) not guilty of receiving (stolen/extorted) property.

[This defense does not apply if the defendant decided to (return the property to its owner/ [or] deliver the property to law enforcement) only after (he/she) wrongfully (bought/received/ concealed/withheld) the property.] [The defense [also] does not apply if the defendant intended to (return the property to its owner/ [or] deliver the property to law enforcement) when (he/ she) (bought/received/concealed/withheld) it, but later decided to (sell/conceal/withhold) the property.]

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on this defense if there is substantial evidence supporting the defense and the defendant is relying on the defense or the defense is not inconsistent with the defendant's theory of the case. (People v. Osborne (1978) 77 Cal.App.3d 472, 477 [143 Cal.Rptr. 582]; see People v. Sedeno (1974) 10 Cal.3d 703, 716-717 [112 Cal.Rptr. 1, 518 P.2d 913], disapproved on other grounds in People v. Flannel (1979) 25 Cal.3d 668, 684-685, fn. 12 [160 Cal. Rptr. 84, 603 P.2d 1] and in People v. Breverman (1998) 19 Cal.4th 142, 163, fn. 10, 164-178 [77 Cal.Rptr.2d 870, 960 P.2d 1094]; People v. Burnham (1986) 176 Cal.App.3d 1134, 1139, fn. 3 [222 Cal.Rptr. 630].)

Related Instructions

For the general requirement of a union between an act and intent (Pen. Code, § 20), see CALCRIM No. 250, Union of Act and Intent-General Intent.

Authority

Instructional Requirements. People v. Osborne (1978) 77 Cal.App.3d 472, 476 [143 Cal.Rptr. 582].

Burden of Proof. People v. Dishman (1982) 128 Cal.App.3d 717, 721-722 [180 Cal.Rptr. 467]; People v. Wielograf (1980) 101 Cal.App.3d 488, 494 [161 Cal.Rptr. 680].

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Property, § 72.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143, Crimes Against Property, § 143.03[1][d], [2][a] (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)