California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

705. Special Circumstances: Circumstantial Evidence - Intent or Mental State

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705.Special Circumstances: Circumstantial Evidence—Intent or
Mental State
In order to prove the special circumstance[s] of <insert
special circumstance[s] with intent requirement>, the People must prove
not only that the defendant did the act[s] charged, but also that (he/she)
acted with a particular intent or mental state. The instruction for (each/
the) special circumstance explains the intent or mental state required.
An intent or mental state may be proved by circumstantial evidence.
Before you may rely on circumstantial evidence to conclude that the
defendant had the required intent or mental state, you must be
convinced that the People have proved each fact essential to that
conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt.
Also, before you may rely on circumstantial evidence to conclude that
the defendant had the required intent or mental state, you must be
convinced that the only reasonable conclusion supported by the
circumstantial evidence is that the defendant had the required intent or
mental state. If you can draw two or more reasonable conclusions from
the circumstantial evidence, and one of those reasonable conclusions
supports a finding that the defendant did have the required intent or
mental state and another reasonable conclusion supports a finding that
the defendant did not have the required intent or mental state, you
must conclude that the required intent or mental state was not proved
by the circumstantial evidence. However, when considering
circumstantial evidence, you must accept only reasonable conclusions
and reject any that are unreasonable.
New January 2006
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to instruct on how to evaluate circumstantial
evidence if the prosecution substantially relies on circumstantial evidence to
establish any element of the case. (People v. Yrigoyen (1955) 45 Cal.2d 46, 49 [286
P.2d 1] [duty exists where circumstantial evidence relied on to prove any element,
including intent]; People v. Bloyd (1987) 43 Cal.3d 333, 351–352 [233 Cal.Rptr.
368, 729 P.2d 802].)
Give CALCRIM No. 223, Direct and Circumstantial Evidence: Defined, with this
instruction.
The Supreme Court has held that it is appropriate to give an instruction specifically
tailored to the use of circumstantial evidence in determining the truth of a special
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circumstance allegation. (People v. Maury (2003) 30 Cal.4th 342, 428 [133
Cal.Rptr.2d 561, 68 P.3d 1]; People v. Hughes (2002) 27 Cal.4th 287, 346 [116
Cal.Rptr.2d 401, 39 P.3d 432]; People v. Lewis (2001) 25 Cal.4th 610, 653 [106
Cal.Rptr.2d 629, 22 P.3d 392].) However, the court is not required to give this
instruction if it has also given the more general instruction on circumstantial
evidence. (People v. Hines (1997) 15 Cal.4th 997, 1051 [64 Cal.Rptr.2d 594, 938
P.2d 388]; People v. Lewis, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 653; see CALCRIM No. 225,
Circumstantial Evidence: Intent or Mental State.)
If intent or mental state is the only element of the special circumstance that rests
substantially on circumstantial evidence, then this instruction should be given in
place of CALCRIM No. 704, Special Circumstances: Circumstantial
Evidence—Suffıciency. (See People v. Marshall (1996) 13 Cal.4th 799, 849 [55
Cal.Rptr.2d 347, 919 P.2d 1280]). If other elements of the special circumstance also
rest substantially or entirely on circumstantial evidence, the court may give the
more general instruction, CALCRIM No. 704, instead of this instruction. (People v.
Hughes, supra, 27 Cal.4th at p. 347.) The court may choose to give both
instructions (CALCRIM Nos. 704 and 705) and may also choose to give both
circumstantial evidence instructions for non-special circumstance cases (CALCRIM
Nos. 224 and 225). (See People v. Maury, supra, 30 Cal.4th at p. 428.)
Related Instructions
CALCRIM No. 223, Direct and Circumstantial Evidence: Defined.
CALCRIM No. 224, Circumstantial Evidence: Suffıciency of Evidence.
CALCRIM No. 225, Circumstantial Evidence: Intent or Mental State.
CALCRIM No. 704, Special Circumstances: Circumstantial Evidence—Suffıciency.
AUTHORITY
• Duty to Instruct on Circumstantial Evidence Generally. People v. Yrigoyen
(1955) 45 Cal.2d 46, 49 [286 P.2d 1]; People v. Bloyd (1987) 43 Cal.3d 333,
351–352 [233 Cal.Rptr. 368, 729 P.2d 802].
• Appropriate to Instruct on Special Circumstance. People v. Maury (2003) 30
Cal.4th 342, 428 [133 Cal.Rptr.2d 561, 68 P.3d 1]; People v. Hughes (2002) 27
Cal.4th 287, 346 [116 Cal.Rptr.2d 401]; People v. Lewis (2001) 25 Cal.4th 610,
653 [106 Cal.Rptr.2d 629, 22 P.3d 392].
• Instruction Duplicative, Not Required. People v. Lewis (2001) 25 Cal.4th 610,
653 [106 Cal.Rptr.2d 629, 22 P.3d 392]; People v. Hines (1997) 15 Cal.4th 997,
1051 [64 Cal.Rtpr.2d 594, 938 P.2d 388].
Secondary Sources
4 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 87, Death
Penalty, § 87.14 (Matthew Bender).
CALCRIM No. 705 HOMICIDE
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