Skip to content
Name: Gibson v. Ortiz
Case #: 03-56518
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/04/2004

A federal habeas petition was properly granted due to constitutionally defective jury instructions. The defendant was convicted in California of corporal injury to a spouse, forcible oral copulation, and genital penetration, The Second Appellate District affirmed his conviction on appeal, rejecting his claim that the 1998 versions of CALJIC 2.50.01 and 2.50.1 unconstitutionally permitted the jury to find him guilty of the charged offenses based on a preponderance of the evidence standard. The California Supreme Court denied his petition for review. The federal district court granted a writ of habeas corpus, finding that the reduced burden of proof violated the defendant’s due process rights under In re Winship (1970) 397 U.S. 358. The Ninth Circuit agreed and further found that the error deprived the defendant of a jury verdict within the meaning of the Sixth Amendment under Sullivan v. Louisiana (1993) 508 U.S. 275. Thus, the writ was properly issued.