CALJIC 2.50.02 - Interpretation

In People v. Brown (2000) 77 Cal. App. 4th 1324 92 Cal. Rptr. 2d 433, the court upheld the 1999 revision of CALJIC No. 2.50.02, which is virtually identical to CALJIC No. 2.50.01 except that it applies to use of prior acts of domestic violence under section 1109. It found the instructions given "did not allow the jury to infer that he committed the charged crime solely from proof that he committed the prior acts of domestic violence. To the contrary, the instructions expressly provided that 'evidence that the defendant committed prior offenses involving domestic violence is not sufficient by itself to prove that he committed the charged offenses.' . . . the People v. Falsetta (1999) court specifically noted that an admonishment 'not to convict defendant solely in reliance on the evidence that he committed prior sex offenses,' will help 'assure that the defendant will be tried and convicted for his present, not his past offenses.' " (77 Cal. App. 4th at p. 1335.) The Brown court recognized that the court in Falsetta had not decided the constitutionality of the 1999 revision. Nevertheless, it believed, "it is improbable that the California Supreme Court would suggest that an instruction 'adequately sets forth the controlling principles' for considering other crimes evidence, and then find that same instruction to be constitutionally defective." ( Id. at p. 1336.)