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Name: People v. Contreras
Case #: G042077
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/10/2010

In an MDO trial, the jury should be instructed with CALCRIM No. 224 rather than No. 225. Appellant argued that at his MDO trial the jury should have been given CALCRIM No. 225, the instruction on circumstantial evidence of the defendant’s mental state, rather than No. 224, the general instruction on circumstantial evidence. The appellate court rejected the argument. Both instructions essentially give the same information on considering circumstantial evidence, but No. 224 is more inclusive. CALCRIM No. 225 is the instruction to give when only the defendant’s mental state is at issue. But in an MDO trial the jury is not asked to decide if the defendant has a particular mental state when he committed a crime because no crime is charged. Rather the jury must decide if the defendant suffers from a severe mental disorder. So, CALCRIM No. 224 is the instruction that should be given.