California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

240. Causation

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C. CAUSATION
240.Causation
An act [or omission] causes (injury/ <insert other
description>) if the (injury/ <insert other description>) is
the direct, natural, and probable consequence of the act [or omission]
and the (injury/ <insert other description>) would not have
happened without the act [or omission]. A natural and probable
consequence is one that a reasonable person would know is likely to
happen if nothing unusual intervenes. In deciding whether a
consequence is natural and probable, consider all the circumstances
established by the evidence.
<Give if multiple potential causes.>
[There may be more than one cause of (injury/ <insert
other description>). An act [or omission] causes (injury/
<insert other description>), only if it is a substantial factor in causing the
(injury/ <insert other description>). A substantial factor is
more than a trivial or remote factor. However, it does not have to be the
only factor that causes the (injury/ <insert other
description>).]
New January 2006, Revised February 2012
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
If causation is at issue, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on proximate
cause. (People v. Bernhardt (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 567, 590–591 [35 Cal.Rptr.
401]; People v. Cervantes (2001) 26 Cal.4th 860, 866–874 [111 Cal.Rptr.2d 148, 29
P.3d 225].) The committee has addressed causation in those instructions where the
issue is most likely to arise. If the particular facts of the case raise a causation
issue and other instructions do not adequately cover the point, give this instruction.
If there is evidence of multiple potential causes, the court should also give the
bracketed paragraph. (People v. Sanchez (2001) 26 Cal.4th 834, 845–849 [111
Cal.Rptr.2d 129, 29 P.3d 209]; People v. Autry (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 351, 363 [43
Cal.Rptr.2d 135].)
AUTHORITY
• Proximate Cause. People v. Cervantes (2001) 26 Cal.4th 860, 866–874 [111
Cal.Rptr.2d 148, 29 P.3d 225]; People v. Roberts (1992) 2 Cal.4th 271, 315–322
[6 Cal.Rptr.2d 276, 826 P.2d 274].
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• Substantial Factor. People v. Sanchez (2001) 26 Cal.4th 834, 845–849 [111
Cal.Rptr.2d 129, 29 P.3d 209]; People v. Autry (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 351, 363
[43 Cal.Rptr.2d 135].
• Independent Intervening Cause. People v. Cervantes (2001) 26 Cal.4th 860,
866–874 [111 Cal.Rptr.2d 148, 29 P.3d 225].
• Causation Instructions. People v. Sanchez (2001) 26 Cal.4th 834, 845–849
[111 Cal.Rptr.2d 129, 29 P.3d 209]; People v. Roberts (1992) 2 Cal.4th 271,
311–322 [6 Cal.Rptr.2d 276, 826 P.2d 274]; People v. Autry (1995) 37
Cal.App.4th 351, 363 [43 Cal.Rptr.2d 135].
• Instructional Duty. People v. Bernhardt (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 567, 590–591
[35 Cal.Rptr. 401].
• Natural and Probable Consequences Defined. See People v. Prettyman (1996)
14 Cal.4th 248, 291 [58 Cal.Rptr.2d 827, 926 P.2d 1013] (conc. & dis. opn. of
Brown, J.).
• Act or Omission. People v. Cervantes (2001) 26 Cal.4th 860, 866 [111
Cal.Rptr.2d 148, 29 P.3d 225].
Secondary Sources
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Elements, §§ 35–44.
1Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against the
Person, § 93.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.02[1A][a] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 140,
Challenges to Crimes, § 140.04 (Matthew Bender).
241–249. Reserved for Future Use
CALCRIM No. 240 POST-TRIAL: INTRODUCTORY
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