California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

301. Single Witness's Testimony

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301.Single Witness’s Testimony
[Except for the testimony of <insert witness’s name>, which
requires supporting evidence [if you decide (he/she) is an accomplice],]
(the/The) testimony of only one witness can prove any fact. Before you
conclude that the testimony of one witness proves a fact, you should
carefully review all the evidence.
New January 2006; Revised April 2010, February 2012, February 2014
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to give an instruction on this issue in every case.
(People v. Rincon-Pineda (1975) 14 Cal.3d 864, 884–885 [123 Cal.Rptr. 119, 538
P.2d 247].) Insert the bracketed language if the testimony of an accomplice or other
witness requires corroboration. (People v. Chavez (1985) 39 Cal.3d 823, 831–832
[218 Cal.Rptr. 49, 705 P.2d 372].)
The following constitutional provisions and statutes require evidence that
corroborates a witness’s testimony: Cal. Const., art. I, § 18 [treason]; Pen. Code,
§§ 1111 [accomplice testimony]; 1111.5 [in-custody informant]; 653f [solicitation of
felony]; 118 [perjury]; 1108 [abortion and seduction of minor]; 532 [obtaining
property by false pretenses].
Give the bracketed phrase “if you decide (he/she) is an accomplice” and
CALCRIM No. 334 if the jury must determine whether a witness is an accomplice.
• Instructional Requirements. Evid. Code, § 411; People v. Rincon-Pineda
(1975) 14 Cal.3d 864,885 [123 Cal.Rptr. 119, 538 P.2d 247].
• Corroboration Required. People v. Chavez (1985) 39 Cal.3d 823, 831–832
[218 Cal.Rptr. 49, 705 P.2d 372].
Secondary Sources
3 Witkin, California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Presentation, § 111.
4Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[2][b] (Matthew Bender).
Uncorroborated Testimony of Defendant
The cautionary admonition regarding a single witness’s testimony applies with
equal force to uncorroborated testimony by a defendant. (People v. Turner (1990)
50 Cal.3d 668, 696, fn. 14 [268 Cal.Rptr. 706, 789 P.2d 887].)
Uncorroborated Testimony in Sex Offense Cases
In a prosecution for forcible rape, an instruction that the testimony of a single
witness is sufficient may be given in conjunction with an instruction that there is
no legal corroboration requirement in a sex offense case. Both instructions correctly
state the law and because each focuses on a different legal point, there is no
implication that the victim’s testimony is more credible than the defendant’s
testimony. (People v. Gammage (1992) 2 Cal.4th 693, 700–702 [7 Cal.Rptr.2d 541,
828 P.2d 682] [resolving split of authority on whether the two instructions can be
given together].)