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Name: People v. Ruiloba
Case #: C046096
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/28/2005
Summary

A trial court need not bifurcate the trials on a substantive charge of child molestation and the procedural issue of whether the statute of limitations should be extended under Penal Code section 803. That section forbids the use of evidence not otherwise admissible at trial to provide the necessary corroboration for extending the statute of limitations, but this language does not require a separate trial on the issue of corroboration. A bifurcated proceeding would be duplicative and is not necessary to avoid prejudice to the defendant. Although the court here did not abuse its discretion in failing to bifurcate the trials, in the future, courts should not explain to the jury why the elements of section 803 are present in the instructions, in order to avoid pressuring the jury to improperly extend the statute of limitations after they have already found the defendant guilty of the charged offenses.