CALJIC 2.62 - Interpretation
CALJIC No. 2.62 reads:
"In this case defendant has testified to certain matters.If you find that a the defendant failed to explain or deny any evidence against him her introduced by the prosecution which he she can reasonably be expected to deny or explain because of facts within his her knowledge, you may take that failure into consideration as tending to indicate the truth of this evidence and as indicating that among the inferences that may reasonably be drawn therefrom those unfavorable to the defendant are the more probable.
The failure of a defendant to deny or explain evidence against him her does not, by itself, warrant an inference of guilt, nor does it relieve the prosecution of its burden of proving every essential element of the crime and the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If a defendant does not have the knowledge that he she would need to deny or to explain evidence against him, her, it would be unreasonable to draw an inference unfavorable to him her because of his her failure to deny or explain this evidence."
In People v. Saddler (1979) 24 Cal.3d 671, the court rejected an argument that CALJIC No. 2.62 violated due process rights by denying a defendant the presumption of innocence and instead raising an inference of guilt. (Saddler, supra, 24 Cal.3d at pp. 679-680.)
The court emphasized that the instruction cautions that the failure of a defendant to deny or explain "'does not create a presumption of guilt or by itself warrant an inference of guilt, nor does it relieve the prosecution of its burden of proving every essential element of the crime and the guilt of defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.'" (Id. at p. 680.)