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Name: People v. Henning
Case #: C058105
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/29/2009
Summary

CALCRIM No. 1804 which instructs on theft by false pretense, is partially inaccurate as it instructs in option A that the People must prove that the false pretense was accompanied by either a writing or false token, but fails to specify that the writing must be false. To prove the crime of theft by false pretenses, there must be corroboration by either a false token or writing, or a writing subscribed b,y or in the handwriting of, the defendant, or testimony of two witnesses, or testimony of one witness and corroborating circumstances. Option A of CALCRIM No. 1804, states that the pretense must be accompanied by either a writing or false token. By failing to modify the word “writing” with “false,” the instruction improperly informs the jury of the element that it must find. In this case, dealing with multiple instances of elder theft, although the jury was instructed with the flawed instruction, the error was harmless because of the abundant corroboration in the testimony of multiple victims and the corroborating circumstances.