CACI No. 200. Obligation to Prove - More Likely True Than Not True

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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200.Obligation to Prove - More Likely True Than Not True
The parties must persuade you, by the evidence presented in court, that
what they are required to prove is more likely to be true than not true.
This is referred to as “the burden of proof.”
After weighing all of the evidence, if you cannot decide that something is
more likely to be true than not true, you must conclude that the party
did not prove it. You should consider all the evidence, no matter which
party produced the evidence.
In criminal trials, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty
beyond a reasonable doubt. But in civil trials, such as this one, the party
who is required to prove something need prove only that it is more likely
to be true than not true.
New September 2003; Revised February 2005, May 2020
Directions for Use
Evidence Code section 502 requires the court to instruct the jury regarding which
party bears the burden of proof on each issue and the requisite degree of proof.
For an instruction on clear and convincing evidence, see CACI No. 201, Highly
Probable - Clear and Convincing Proof.
Sources and Authority
Burden of Proof - Preponderance of Evidence. Evidence Code section 115.
Party With Burden of Proof. Evidence Code section 500.
Each party is entitled to the benefit of all the evidence, including the evidence
produced by an adversary. (Williams v. Barnett (1955) 135 Cal.App.2d 607, 612
[287 P.2d 789]; 7 Witkin, California Procedure (4th ed. 1997) Trial, § 305, p.
The general rule in California is that ‘[i]ssues of fact in civil cases are
determined by a preponderance of testimony.’ (Weiner v. Fleischman (1991) 54
Cal.3d 476, 483 [286 Cal.Rptr. 40, 816 P.2d 892], citation omitted.)
The preponderance-of-the-evidence standard “simply requires the trier of fact ‘to
believe that the existence of a fact is more probable than its nonexistence.’ (In
re Angelia P. (1981) 28 Cal.3d 908, 918 [171 Cal.Rptr. 637, 623 P.2d 198],
citation omitted.)
“Preponderance of the evidence” ‘means what it says, viz., that the evidence
on one side outweighs, preponderates over, is more than, the evidence on the
other side, not necessarily in number of witnesses or quantity, but in its effect on
those to whom it is addressed.’ (Glage v. Hawes Firearms Co. (1990) 226
Cal.App.3d 314, 325 [276 Cal.Rptr. 430] (quoting People v. Miller (1916) 171
Cal. 649, 652 [154 P. 468] and holding that it was prejudicial misconduct for
jurors to refer to the dictionary for definition of the word “preponderance”).)
Secondary Sources
1 Witkin, California Evidence (5th ed. 2012) Burden of Proof and Presumptions,
§ 36
Jefferson, California Evidence Benchbook (3d ed. 1997) Ch. 45, Burdens of Proof
and of Producing Evidence; Presumptions
4 California Trial Guide, Unit 91, Jury Deliberations and Rendition of Verdict,
§ 91.20 (Matthew Bender)
48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 551, Trial, §§ 551.90, 551.92
(Matthew Bender)

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