California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

370. Motive

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The People are not required to prove that the defendant had a motive
to (commit (any of the crimes/the crime) charged/ [or]
<insert conduct alleged in support of sentencing enhancement
or special circumstance>). In reaching your verdict you may, however,
consider whether the defendant had a motive.
Having a motive may be a factor tending to show (that the defendant is
guilty/ [or] that an (allegation/ [or] special circumstance) is true). Not
having a motive may be a factor tending to show (the defendant is not
guilty/ [or] that an (allegation/ [or] special circumstance) is not true).
New January 2006; Revised March 2017
Instructional Duty
The court does not have a sua sponte duty to instruct on motive. (People v. Romo
(1975) 14 Cal.3d 189, 196 [121 Cal.Rptr. 111, 534 P.2d 1015] [not error to refuse
instruction on motive].)
Do not give this instruction if motive is an element of all of the crimes charged.
(See, e.g., CALCRIM No. 1122, Annoying or Molesting a Child.)
Modify this instruction as needed if motive is an element of some, but not all, of
the crimes or special circumstances charged or enhancements alleged. (See People
v. Valenti (2016) 243 Cal.App.4th 1140, 1165 [197 Cal.Rptr.3d 317].)
• Instructional Requirements. People v. Romo (1975) 14 Cal.3d 189, 195–196
[121 Cal.Rptr. 111, 534 P.2d 1015]; People v. Young (1970) 9 Cal.App.3d 106,
110 [87 Cal.Rptr. 767].
• Jury May Consider Motive. People v. Brown (1900) 130 Cal. 591, 594 [62 P.
1072]; People v. Gonzales (1948) 87 Cal.App.2d 867, 877–878 [198 P.2d 81].
• Proof of Presence or Absence of Motive Not Required. People v. Daly (1992)
8 Cal.App.4th 47, 59 [10 Cal.Rptr.2d 21]; People v. Scheer (1998) 68
Cal.App.4th 1009, 1017–1018 [80 Cal.Rptr.2d 676].
• This Instruction Upheld. People v. Ibarra (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 1174,
1192–1193 [67 Cal.Rptr.3d 871].
Secondary Sources
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Elements, § 4.
1 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Defenses, § 281.
1 Witkin, California Evidence (5th ed. 2012) Circumstantial Evidence, § 123.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.03[2][c] (Matthew Bender).
Entrapment Defense
The court should not instruct on motive if the defendant admits his guilt for the
substantive crime and presents an entrapment defense, because in that instance his
or her commission of the crime would not be an issue and motive would be
irrelevant. (See People v. Martinez (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 660, 669 [203 Cal.Rptr.
833]; People v. Lee (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 829, 841 [268 Cal.Rptr. 595].)
No Conflict With Other Instructions
Motive, intent, and malice are separate and distinct mental states. Giving a motive
instruction does not conflict with intent and malice instructions. (People v.
Hillhouse (2002) 27 Cal.4th 469, 503–504 [117 Cal.Rptr.2d 45, 40 P.3d 754]
[motive describes the reason a person chooses to commit a crime]; People v. Snead
(1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1088, 1098 [24 Cal.Rptr.2d 922].) Similarly, a motive
instruction that focuses on guilt does not conflict with a special circumstance
instruction, which the jury is directed to find true or not true. (People v. Heishman
(1988) 45 Cal.3d 147, 178 [246 Cal.Rptr. 673, 753 P.2d 629] [defendant argued
motive to prevent victim from testifying was at core of special circumstance].) A
torture murder instruction that requires an intent to cause cruel pain or suffering for
the purpose of revenge, extortion, or any sadistic purpose also does not conflict
with the motive instruction. The torture murder instruction does not elevate motive
to the status of an element of the crime. It simply makes explicit the treatment of
motive as an element of proof in torture murder cases. (People v. Lynn (1984) 159
Cal.App.3d 715, 727–728 [206 Cal.Rptr. 181].)