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Name: People v. Vang
Case #: C058020
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/06/2009
Summary

CALCRIM No. 226, which instructs the jury on how to assess the credibility of a witness, correctly informs the jury how it should consider the witness who willfully lies, as well as the witness whose testimony is inaccurate for reasons other than deliberate lying. Defendant was charged with forcibly molesting his six-year-old niece. Following the incident, the child was interviewed by a pediatric nurse practitioner who used the assistance of an Hmong interpreter. At trial, the child, who was now nine, testified and some of her details were confusing or self-contradictory. Defense counsel’s theory of the case was that the child, who did not fully understand the trial proceedings, had been molested by someone other than defendant and had then been coached to testify inaccurately by other(s) with a bias against defendant. Counsel requested that CALCRIM No. 226 be modified to include language that if the jury found the witness deliberately lied or inaccurately testified, it could reject, in whole or in part, the testimony — the inaccurately testified language being the addition. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s rejection of the proposed modification, finding that the instruction, in its entirety, adequately dealt with the witness whose testimony contains some inaccuracies. Furthermore, CALCRIM No. 226 was patterned on CALJIC Nos. 2.21.2 and 2.21 which has previously been found to correctly state the law.