California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

2620. Using Force or Threatening a Witness Before Testimony or Information Given

Download PDF
(ii) Threatening or Intimidating
2620.Using Force or Threatening a Witness Before
Testimony or Information Given (Pen. Code, § 137(b))
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with (using force/ [or]
threatening to use force) against a person to cause that person [or
someone else] to (give false (testimony/ [or] information)/ [or] withhold
true (testimony/ [or] information)) [in violation of Penal Code section
137(b)].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
prove that:
1. The defendant [unlawfully] (used force/ [or] threatened to use
force) against <insert name/description of person
allegedly targeted>;
AND
<Alternative 2A—to give or withhold testimony>
[2. When the defendant (used force/ [or] made the threat), (he/she)
intended to cause <insert name/description of person
defendant allegedly sought to influence> to (give false testimony/
[or] withhold true testimony).]
<Alternative 2B—to give or withhold information>
[2. When the defendant (used force/ [or] made the threat), (he/she)
intended to cause <insert name/description of person
defendant allegedly sought to influence> to (give false material
information about a crime to/ [or] withhold true material
information about a crime from) a law enforcement official.]
[A person makes a threat of force when he or she communicates to
someone else a believable threat of unlawful injury to a person or
property.]
[Information is material if it is significant or important.]
[(A/The) (district attorney[,]/ [or] deputy district attorney[,]/ [or] city
attorney[,]/ [or] deputy city attorney[,]/ [or] Attorney General[,]/ [or]
deputy attorney general[,]/ [or] <insert title of peace offıcer
included in Pen. Code, § 830 et seq.>) is a law enforcement official.]
[The People do not need to prove that <insert
name/description of person defendant allegedly sought to influence>
actually (gave false (testimony/information)/ [or] withheld true
(testimony/information)).]
494
0024
New January 2006
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of
the crime.
Give the bracketed sentence that beings with “A person makes a threat of force
whenever the prosecution alleges that the defendant made a threat. (Pen. Code,
§ 137(b).)
Give the bracketed sentence that begins with “The People do not need to prove
that” if the evidence shows that the testimony or information of the alleged target
was not affected.
AUTHORITY
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 137(b).
• Threat Defined. Pen. Code, § 137(b).
• Law Enforcement Official Defined. Pen. Code, § 137(e).
• Specific Intent Required. People v. Womack (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 926,
929–930 [47 Cal.Rptr.2d 76].
Secondary Sources
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against
Governmental Authority, §§ 6, 12.
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 141,
Conspiracy, Solicitation, and Attempt, § 141.10 (Matthew Bender).
LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSES
The misdemeanor offense of knowingly inducing a false statement to a law
enforcement official in violation of Penal Code section 137(c) is not a lesser
included offense of section 137(b) because the latter offense lacks the element that
the defendant must actually cause a false statement to be made. (People v. Miles
(1996) 43 Cal.App.4th 575, 580 [51 Cal.Rptr.2d 52].)
RELATED ISSUES
Penal Code Sections 137(b), 136.1, and 138
Because one cannot “influence” the testimony of a witness if the witness does not
testify, a conviction under Penal Code section 137(b) is inconsistent with a
conviction under Penal Code section 136.1 or 138, which require that a defendant
prevent, rather than influence, testimony. (People v. Womack (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th
926, 931 [47 Cal.Rptr.2d 76].)
CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT CALCRIM No. 2620
495
0025