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Name: People v. Molina
Case #: C032811
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/14/2000
Subsequent History: Review denied 11/29/00

Acknowledging that the validity of CALJIC 17.41.1 is currently pending before the California Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal concluded that giving the instruction here was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, even under Chapman v. California (1976) 386 U.S. 18, the standard most favorable to a defendant, and that it is not structural error. CALJIC 17.41.1 instructs the jurors that they are required to report to the court any situation in which another juror refuses to deliberate, or expresses an intention to disregard the law or to decide the case based on penalty or punishment or any other improper basis. The Court of Appeal found the instruction is not coercive, because it only requires the jurors to report misconduct. Because misconduct is not involved in the majority of cases, the court found the suggestion that giving the instruction should constitute structural error requiring automatic reversal was absurd. Under the Chapman standard, reversal is not required because the jury reached a verdict in less than an hour with no indication of a deadlock or that there were holdout jurors.