302. Evaluating Conflicting Evidence
If you determine there is a conflict in the evidence, you must decide what evidence, if any, to believe. Do not simply count the number of witnesses who agree or disagree on a point and accept the testimony of the greater number of witnesses. On the other hand, do not disregard the testimony of the greater number of witnesses, or any witness, without a reason or because of prejudice or a desire to favor one side or the other. What is important is whether the testimony or any other evidence convinces you, not just the number of witnesses who testify about a certain point.
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on weighing contradictory evidence unless corroborating evidence is required. (People v. Rincon-Pineda (1975) 14 Cal.3d 864, 884 [123 Cal.Rptr. 119, 538 P.2d 247].)
Instructional Requirements. People v. Rincon-Pineda (1975) 14 Cal.3d 864, 884 [123 Cal.Rptr. 119, 538 P.2d 247].
5 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Criminal Trial, § 649.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85, Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[b] (Matthew Bender).
(New January 2006)