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Name: People v. Rutter
Case #: B186072
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 10/16/2006

Appellant was convicted of attempted grand theft, forgery, and perjury for contacting Cameron Diaz and offering to sell her topless photos he had taken of her as a young model, using a forged release form. When Diaz claimed the release was a forgery, appellant submitted a declaration under penalty of perjury which said that the release form was not a forgery. On appeal, appellant argued that his forgery conviction should be reversed because the prosecution failed to timely disclose its expert’s opinion regarding evidence of forgery. The appellate court rejected this argument, finding that although the prosecution turned over the evidence only days before trial, it had obtained the export’s report only the day before it was turned over. Appellant also argued that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on perjury pursuant to Penal Code section 125, which states that a person claiming that something is true, without knowing whether it is actually true, is guilty of perjury. The appellate court held that the instruction was error, but that the error was not prejudicial, given the other clarifying instructions which let the jury know that making a statement in mistake when believing it is true is not perjury even if the statement is false. Also, the error was not prejudicial because the jury found appellant guilty of forgery which required a finding that he knew the release was forged.