CALCRIM No. 3501. Unanimity: When Generic Testimony of Offense Presented
Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2020 edition)Download PDF
3501.Unanimity: When Generic Testimony of Offense Presented
The defendant is charged with <insert description[s] of
alleged offense[s]> [in Count[s] ] sometime during the period of
The People have presented evidence of more than one act to prove that
the defendant committed (this/these) offense[s]. You must not find the
defendant guilty unless:
1. You all agree that the People have proved that the defendant
committed at least one of these acts and you all agree on which
act (he/she) committed [for each offense];
2. You all agree that the People have proved that the defendant
committed all the acts alleged to have occurred during this time
period [and have proved that the defendant committed at least
the number of offenses charged].
New January 2006; Revised February 2014
In People v. Jones (1990) 51 Cal.3d 294 [270 Cal.Rptr. 611, 792 P.2d 643], the
Court analyzed the due process concerns raised when a witness testifies to
numerous, repeated acts of child molestation over a period of time, but the witness
is unable to give specifics on time and date. The Court held that prosecutions based
on this type of evidence satisfied due process where the testimony met specified
criteria. (Id. at p. 316.) The Court then addressed what type of unanimity instruction
is required in such cases:
In a case in which the evidence indicates the jurors might disagree as to the
particular act defendant committed, the standard unanimity instruction should be
given. (See, e.g., People v. Gordon [(1985)] 165 Cal. App.3d [839,] 855-856
[defendant raised separate defenses to the two offenses at issue].) But when
there is no reasonable likelihood of juror disagreement as to particular acts, and
the only question is whether or not the defendant in fact committed all of them,
the jury should be given a modified unanimity instruction which, in addition to
allowing a conviction if the jurors unanimously agree on specific acts, also
allows a conviction if the jury unanimously agrees the defendant committed all
the acts described by the victim.
(Id. at pp. 321-322; People v. Matute (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 1437, 1448 [127
Cal.Rptr.2d 472].) If the court concludes that the modified jury instruction is
appropriate, give this instruction. If the court determines that the standard unanimity
instruction is appropriate, give CALCRIM No. 3500, Unanimity.
Give the bracketed portions when the defendant is charged with numerous charges
for the same offense alleged to have occurred during the specified time period. (See
People v. Matute, supra, 103 Cal.App.4th at p. 1448 [15 rapes charged during 15
• Unanimity Required. Cal. Const., art. I, § 16; People v. Russo (2001) 25
Cal.4th 1124, 1132 [108 Cal.Rptr.2d 436, 25 P.3d 641].
• Instruction Required If Multiple Acts Could Support Single Charge. People v.
Russo (2001) 25 Cal.4th 1124, 1132 [108 Cal.Rptr.2d 436, 25 P.3d 641]; People
v. Diedrich (1982) 31 Cal.3d 263, 282 [182 Cal.Rptr. 354, 643 P.2d 971]; People
v. Madden (1981) 116 Cal.App.3d 212, 218 [171 Cal.Rptr. 897]; People v. Alva
(1979) 90 Cal.App.3d 418, 426 [153 Cal.Rptr. 644].
• Generic Testimony. People v. Jones (1990) 51 Cal.3d 294, 321-322 [270
Cal.Rptr. 611, 792 P.2d 643].
• This Instruction Upheld. People v. Fernandez (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 540,
555-558 [157 Cal.Rptr.3d 43].
5 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Criminal Trial, § 731.
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 85,
Submission to Jury and Verdict, § 85.02[a][i] (Matthew Bender).
6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 142, Crimes
Against the Person, § 142.21[c][iii] (Matthew Bender).
POST-TRIAL: CONCLUDING CALCRIM No. 3501