CALJIC 2.71 - Interpretation

In People v. Vega (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 310, the defendant contended the trial court erred in giving CALJIC No. 2.71. He argued his statements were, both inculpatory and exculpatory, and the instruction prejudicially told the jury to view his statements with caution. The Vega court rejected the argument, finding that because the instruction defined an admission as a statement tending to prove guilt, "a jury is capable of discerning whether an extra judicial statement is an admission, which they are instructed to view with caution, or whether the statement is not an admission to which the cautionary language does not apply." (People v. Vega, supra, 220 Cal.App.3d at p. 318.)