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Name: People v. Alvarez
Case #: S089554
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 05/23/2002
Subsequent History: Rehrg. den. 7/10/02
Summary

Appellant was convicted on multiple charges for invading the home of a 13 year old female acquaintance and attacking her in her sleep. The Court of Appeal sustained convictions for burglary and aggravated assault, but reversed the conviction for a forcible lewd act on a child because the trial court erred by failing to instruct on the need for independent proof of the corpus delicti. The California Supreme Court granted review to consider whether Proposition 8, section 28(d),which provides that relevant evidence shall not be excluded in any criminal proceeding, abrogated the corpus delicti rule in California. In this opinion the Court held that Proposition 8, section 28(d), abrogated any corpus delicti basis for excluding a defendant’s extrajudicial statements from evidence. However, it did not abrogate the corpus delicti rule insofar as it provides that every conviction must be supported by some proof of the corpus delicti aside from or in addition to such statements. Therefore, the Court found that the Court of Appeal had properly held that a corpus delicti instruction was required. However, because independent evidence of lewd intent was present, the instructional error was harmless.