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Name: Schultz v. Tilton
Case #: 09-55998
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/27/2011

Jury instruction does not violate due process where it informs the jury that it may not find defendant guilty of the charged offense based on prior sex acts which are proved by a preponderance of the evidence. In 2004 Schultz was convicted of committing sex acts against three children. (Pen. Code, §288, subd. (a)). During trial the prosecution had introduced evidence of uncharged acts of sexual misconduct, in addition to the evidence regarding the charged offenses. These uncharged acts were admitted to show Schultz’s propensity to commit the charged crimes (Evid. Code, §1108). Schultz challenged the 2002 version of CALJIC number 2.50.01 as misstating the prosecution’s burden of proof and improperly allowing the jury to convict him of the present charges after finding by a preponderance of the evidence that he committed the prior acts. However, CALJIC number 2.50.01 was amended in 1999 with language that cautions the jury it may not convict a defendant of the charged crimes upon finding the prior acts true based on a preponderance of the evidence. Further, in 2002 language was added which tells the jury that if it determines an inference can be drawn from evidence of the prior acts, this is only one item, along with the remaining evidence, for it to consider in determining whether the current charges have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The instruction given in Schultz’s case reflected both the 1999 and 2002 revisions and clearly informed the jury it could only convict him of the present charges if the evidence as a whole proved him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.