CALCRIM No. 301. Single Witness’s Testimony

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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301.Single Witness’s Testimony
[Unless I instruct you otherwise,] (T/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, September
2017, March 2019
BENCH NOTES
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].)
Give the bracketed phrase if any testimony requires corroboration. See 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].
AUTHORITY
• 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].
• No Corroboration Requirement for Exculpatory Accomplice Testimony. People
v. Smith (2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 766, 778-780 [218 Cal.Rptr.3d 892].
RELATED ISSUES
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].)
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SECONDARY SOURCES
3 Witkin, California Evidence (5th ed. 2012) Presentation at Trial, § 125.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[2][b] (Matthew Bender).
EVIDENCE CALCRIM No. 301
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