CALJIC 4.36 - Interpretation

In People v. Garcia (2001) 25 Cal.4th 744, the trial court instructed with CALJIC No. 4.36, which stated: " 'When the evidence shows that the person voluntarily did that which the law declares to be a crime, it is no defense that he did not know that the act was unlawful or that he believed it to be lawful.' " (People v. Garcia, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 751.) The Garcia trial court also instructed with the standard instruction on willfulness, CALJIC No. 1.20, which stated: " 'The word "willfully" when applied to the intent with which an act is done or omitted means with a purpose or willingness . . . to make the omission in question. the word "willfully" does not require any intent to violate the law . . . .' " (Ibid.) Garcia concluded that instruction with CALJIC No. 4.36 was error, because the instruction on its face allowed the jury to convict even if the defendant was unaware of his obligation to do so. (Id. at p. 754.) The court held CALJIC No. 1.20 "correctly required a showing of purpose or willingness to act, or fail to act." (Ibid.) However, CALJIC No. 1.20 was incomplete in that it did not clearly inform the jury actual knowledge was required. (Ibid.)