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Name: People v. Wilson
Case #: H030940
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/12/2008

The trial court did not err by modifying CALCRIM No. 1191 to instruct the jury that it could use evidence of one charged crime to infer the defendant was predisposed to have the requisite specific intent for other charged crimes. At appellant’s trial for several sex offenses, he objected to the modification of the propensity instruction relating to uncharged crimes (CALCRIM No. 1191). As modified, the instruction told the jury it could infer propensity to commit one charged sex offense from evidence of other offenses charged in the same case, as opposed to uncharged offenses which is what the instruction usually allows consideration of. Relying on People v. Quintanilla (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 572, where the court disapproved of an instruction which allowed the jury to draw a propensity inference from other charged domestic violence offenses, appellant argued on appeal that the modification was erroroneous. The Court of Appeal reviewed the legislative intent behind Evidence Code section 1108, analyzed the case law dealing with jury instructions on propensity evidence, and found the modified instruction was appropriate. The language of Evidence Code section 1108 does not distinguish between charged and uncharged offenses. And, permitting the jury to use propensity evidence in this way is consistent with the Legislature’s intent. Also, the policy concerns behind the general rule of excluding propensity evidence, such as protracted mini-trials and the burden of defending against charged and uncharged offenses, are not implicated when multiple sex offenses are charged in the same case. The court implicitly disagreed with Quintanilla’s holding, but did not directly so hold because the instruction in that case was distinguishable since it was much broader than the one at issue here.