California Penal Code Section 1096 - Interpretation

In People v. Castro (1945) 68 Cal.App.2d 491, the Court of Appeal considered a variation of the definition of reasonable doubt found in Penal Code section 1096 and quoted above, but one that required an "'abiding conviction'" of the truth of the charge. (Castro, at p. 500.) In finding the jury had not been misled by the trial court's instruction, the court found that an "'abiding conviction' is the equivalent of 'settled conviction.' (State v. Silverio, 79 N.J.L. 482 76 A. 1069.) It is used in the sense of 'convince.' (State v. Leo, 80 N.J.L. 21 77 A. 523; 36 Words and Phrases (Perm. ed.), p. 298.)" (Castro, at p. 500.) Thus, the United States Supreme Court has described "an abiding conviction" as one that is "settled and fixed", the California Supreme Court has described it as one that is "lasting and permanent", and the California Court of Appeal has described an "'abiding conviction'" as a "'settled conviction'" (Castro, supra, 68 Cal.App.2d at p. 500).