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Name: People v. Jeffries
Case #: C028377
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/16/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/29/00

The trial court properly instructed the jury with CALJIC 2.50.01 where the prosecution introduced evidence of prior sexual offenses. Relying on People v. Falsetta (1999) 21 Cal.4th 903, the court rejected appellant’s claim that CALJIC 2.50.01 permits, in violation of the due process clause, the introduction of evidence of other sexual offenses where there is no rational connection between the circumstances of the other offenses and the instant offenses. The record here affirmatively demonstrates that the trial court misunderstood the scope of its sentencing discretion because it thought that the “three strikes” law, and in particular Penal Code section 667, subdivision (c)(7), mandated consecutive terms for counts 9 through 17 in this prosecution for committing lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under 14 years of age. However, the California Supreme Court decided People v. Deloza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 585, several months after sentencing, and it established that consecutive sentences are not mandated when the currently felony convictions are committed on the same occasion or arise from the same set of operative facts. The record here shows a close temporal and spatial proximity between several of the different counts, and the evidence does not support an implied finding that each count occurred on a separate occasion. Counts 9 through 13 show at least two separate occasions, but not five, so the court had discretion to run three of the five counts concurrent to the other two. Counts 14 through 17 demonstrated only one occasion, so the court had discretion to run three of those four counts concurrent to the others. Giving CALJIC 2.50.01 did not permit the jury to find appellant guilty without proof beyond a reasonable doubt. First, CALJIC 2.50.01 informed the jury that if it found appellant committed a prior sexual offense, it could, but was not required to, infer that appellant had a disposition to commit the same or similar type of sexual offenses. CALJIC 2.50.1 cautioned the jury that it could not consider the prior sexual offense evidence for any purpose unless it found that the prior offenses were proved by a preponderance of the evidence. CALJIC 2.01 warned the jury that the circumstances proved under a circumstantial evidence theory must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The Court of Appeal concluded there was no “reasonable likelihood” that the jury rejected all the direct evidence of the instant offense, but nevertheless convicted him on 16 of 17 counts because it believed, beyond a reasonable doubt [sic – preponderance of the evidence?] that he had committed prior sexual acts.