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Name: People v. O’Dell
Case #: B192805
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/09/2007

CALCRIM No. 376, instructing that possession of recently stolen property as evidence of a crime, does not shift the burden of proof to defendant, permit the jury to disregard defense evidence of innocent possession, or permit the jury to draw an impermissible inference of guilt without sufficient basis in fact.

Observing that CALCRIM no. 376 uses language very similar to CALJIC 2.15, the appellate court noted that 2.15 has withstood constitutional challenges. (See People v. Holt (1997) 15 Cal.4th 617.) Under either instruction the jury is prohibited from drawing an inference of guilt based on recent possession of stolen property unless there is additional corroborating evidence. Here, appellant’s unprovoked flight from the police and protestation that he had not stolen the recently stolen vehicle he was driving, when the officer had said nothing about the vehicle, was sufficient corroborating evidence to allow the jury to infer guilt from appellant’s possession of the recently stolen vehicle.