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Name: People v. Rubio
Case #: F043941
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/18/2004
Subsequent History: 11/10/04 revw den.

The 2003 version of CALJIC 7.20 incorrectly defines materiality when it tells the jury that a false statement must be material before the defendant can be found guilty of perjury. The instruction defines a false material statement as one which could have influenced the outcome of the proceedings in which it was uttered. The correct definition of a false material statement is one that could probably have influenced the outcome. This definition conveys to the jury that the false statement must be important to the matter under discussion, and that false statements on matters not pertinent to the proceeding do not constitute perjury. However, the instructional error was not structural and did not require reversal absent prejudice. Since there was no possibility under these facts that the erroneous instruction contributed to the verdict, the error did not require reversal.