California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

331. Testimony of Person With Developmental, Cognitive, or Mental Disability

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331.Testimony of Person With Developmental, Cognitive, or
Mental Disability
In evaluating the testimony of a person with a (developmental
disability[,]/ [or] [a] (cognitive[,]/ [or] mental[,]/ [or] communication)
impairment), consider all of the factors surrounding that person’s
testimony, including his or her level of cognitive development.
Even though a person with a (developmental disability[,]/ [or] [a]
(cognitive[,]/ [or] mental[,]/ [or] communication) impairment)[,] may
perform differently as a witness because of his or her level of cognitive
development, that does not mean he or she is any more or less credible
than another witness.
You should not discount or distrust the testimony of a person with a
(developmental disability[,]/ [or] [a] (cognitive[,]/ [or] mental[,]/ [or]
communication) impairment)[,] solely because he or she has such a
(disability/ [or] impairment).
New January 2006
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
This instruction must be given on request in any case “in which a person with a
developmental disability, or cognitive, mental, or communication impairment
testifies as a witness . . . .” (Pen. Code, § 1127g.)
The court should consider whether this instruction is appropriate if the witness has
a communication impairment that is not related to a deficiency in cognitive
functioning.
AUTHORITY
• Statutory Authority. Pen. Code, § 1127g.
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Criminal Trial, § 642.
4Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 82,
Witnesses, §§ 82.05[2][a], 82.07, 82.22[3][c] (Matthew Bender).
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