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Name: People v. Garcia
Case #: H018134
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/15/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 9/26/01

Appellant was convicted of a violation of Penal Code section 262, subdivision (b), spousal rape, for an act which was not reported by the victim until 15 months after it occurred. That statute requires that no prosecution shall be commenced unless the report occurs within one year of the offense unless independent evidence corroborates the victim’s allegation. Here, the corroborating evidence consisted of a subsequent assault within the statute of limitations, and a restraining order obtained by the victim as well as evidence of subsequent violations of the restraining order. Appellant’s statements to police admitting the act but stating that it was consensual was also admitted as corroboration. The appellate court found that the evidence was admissible and properly used as corroboration, and that sufficient corroboration existed to support the denial of appellant’s motion to dismiss. Evidence of a subsequent battery and violations of the restraining order were also properly admitted at trial under Evidence Code section 1101, subdivision (b). The evidence was also highly probative on the issues of motive, consent, fear, and delay in reporting, and were not unduly prejudicial. The trial court did not err in failing to instruct the jury that it had to find evidence of corroboration of the victim’s allegation in order to convict. The corroboration requirement is a threshold requirement which must be resolved by the trial court before a prosecution can proceed. It is not a factual determination for the jury to determine. There was no jury misconduct where a juror rendered an opinion that he had “taken a course in body language” and could tell that appellant was lying. Jurors’ generalized comments on matters of common knowledge or experience have been held not to be misconduct in numerous cases.