The court has a sua sponte duty to deﬁne “material.” (People v. Kobrin (1995) 11
Cal.4th 416, 430 [45 Cal.Rptr.2d 895, 903 P.2d 1027] [materiality is a fact question
to be decided by the jury].) The ﬁrst bracketed deﬁnition of material is appropriate
for court proceedings or legislative hearings. (People v. Hedgecock (1990) 51
Cal.3d 395, 405 [272 Cal.Rptr. 803, 795 P.2d 1260] [not appropriate for charge of
perjury on required disclosure forms].) For other types of proceedings, the court
should use the second bracketed sentence, inserting an appropriate deﬁnition in the
blank provided. (Ibid.)
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct the jury about the need for
corroboration of the evidence of perjury. (People v. Di Giacomo (1961) 193
Cal.App.2d 688, 698 [14 Cal.Rptr. 574]; Pen. Code, § 118(b).) If the evidence that
the statement is false is based in whole or in part on the defendant’s testimony,
give the bracketed sentence that begins with “However, if you conclude, based on
the defendant’s own testimony.”
If the prosecution alleges under a single count that the defendant made multiple
statements that were perjury, the court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on
unanimity. (People v. McRae (1967) 256 Cal.App.2d 95, 120–121 [63 Cal.Rptr.
854].) Give the bracketed paragraph that begins with “You may not ﬁnd the
defendant guilty unless.”
Give the bracketed sentence that begins with “It is not a defense (that the oath was
given or taken in an irregular manner” on request if supported by the evidence.
(Pen. Code, § 121.)
Do not give the bracketed paragraph stating that defendant “testiﬁed under oath in
another case involving the same facts” if there is evidence that the defendant’s
statements alleged to be false in the current case were in fact true. (Pen. Code,
§ 118a; Evid. Code, §§ 600–607; People v. Roder (1983) 33 Cal.3d 491, 497–505
[189 Cal.Rptr. 501, 658 P.2d 1302].) Although the statute creates a rebuttable
presumption that the ﬁrst statements made were false, the instruction has been
written as a permissive inference. An instruction phrased as a rebuttable
presumption would create an unconstitutional mandatory presumption. (See People
v. Roder, supra, 33 Cal.3d at pp. 497–505.)
Give the bracketed sentence that begins with “When a person makes a statement,
without qualiﬁcation,” on request if supported by the evidence. (Pen. Code, § 125.)
If there is sufficient evidence, give the bracketed paragraph that begins with “If the
defendant attempted to correct.” (People v. Baranov (1962) 201 Cal.App.2d 52,
60–61 [19 Cal.Rptr. 866].)
• Elements. Pen. Code, § 118a.
•Oath Deﬁned. Pen. Code, § 119.
• Irregular Oath Not a Defense. Pen. Code, § 121.
• Knowledge of Materiality Not Necessary. Pen. Code, § 123.
CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT CALCRIM No. 2641