851. Testimony on Intimate Partner Battering and Its Effects: Offered by the Defense
You have heard testimony from <insert name of expert> regarding the effect of (battered women's syndrome/ intimate partner battering/ <insert other description used by expert for syndrome>).
______'s <insert name of expert> testimony about (battered women's syndrome/intimate partner battering/ <insert other description used by expert for syndrome>) is not evidence that the defendant committed any of the crimes charged against (him/her).
You may consider this evidence only in deciding whether the defendant actually believed that (he/she) needed to defend (himself/herself) against an immediate threat of great bodily injury or death, and whether that belief was reasonable or unreasonable.
When deciding whether the defendant's belief was reasonable or unreasonable, consider all the circumstances as they were known by or appeared to the defendant. Also consider what conduct would appear to be necessary to a reasonable person in a similar situation with similar knowledge.
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction if an expert testifies on intimate partner battering and its effects, previously known as battered women's syndrome. (See People v. Housley (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 947, 958-959 [8 Cal.Rptr.2d 431] [sua sponte duty in context of child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome]; People v. Bledsoe (1984) 36 Cal.3d 236, 250 [203 Cal.Rptr. 450, 681 P.2d 291] [rape trauma syndrome not admissible to prove rape occurred].)
The court may need to modify this instruction if the defense offers testimony on intimate partner battering and its effects on an issue other than whether the defendant actually and reasonably believed in the need for self-defense. (See People v. Coffman and Marlow (2004) 34 Cal.4th 1, 98- 101 [17 Cal.Rptr.3d 710, 96 P.3d 30] [evidence offered to show defendant did not act with intent to kill but acted out of fear of codefendant].)
CALCRIM No. 505, Justifiable Homicide: Self-Defense or Defense of Another.
CALCRIM No. 571, Voluntary Manslaughter: Imperfect Self-Defense.
Instructional Requirements. See Evid. Code, § 1107(a); People v. Humphrey (1996) 13 Cal.4th 1073, 1088, fn. 5 [56 Cal.Rptr.2d 142, 921 P.2d 1]; People v. Jaspar (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 99, 111, fn. 6 [119 Cal.Rptr.2d 470].
Abuse Defined. Evid. Code, § 1107(c); Fam. Code, § 6203.
Domestic Violence Defined. Evid. Code, § 1107(c); Fam. Code, § 6211.
Relevant After Single Incident of Abuse. See People v. Brown (2004) 33 Cal.4th 892, 906-908 [16 Cal.Rptr.3d 447, 94 P.3d 574]; People v. Williams (2000) 78 Cal.App.4th 1118, 1129 [93 Cal.Rptr.2d 356].
Relevant to Claim of Self-Defense. People v. Humphrey (1996) 13 Cal.4th 1073, 1082-1083, 1088-1089 [56 Cal.Rptr.2d 142, 921 P.2d 1].
1 Witkin, California Evidence (4th ed. 2000) Opinion Evidence, §§ 48-51.
3 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 71, Scientific and Expert Evidence, § 71.04[d][v][C]; Ch. 73, Defenses and Justifications, § 73.11[c] (Matthew Bender).
See the Related Issues section of CALCRIM No. 850, Testimony on Intimate Partner Battering and Its Effects: Credibility of Complaining Witness.
(New January 2006)