Jury Instruction to Consider Prior Crimes

"In People v. Carpenter [(1997)] 15 Cal. 4th 312 [63 Cal. Rptr. 2d 1, 935 P.2d 708] the defendant argued that the jury instruction permitting the jury to consider prior crimes proved by a preponderance of the evidence reduced the prosecution's burden of proof on the mens rea element of the offenses. ( Id. at pp. 380, 383.) Noting that the standard instructions on reasonable doubt and on the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence for proving specific intent were also given at trial, the court concluded that the instructions as a whole were clear that the prosecution still had to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt. (Id. at p. 383.) "Defendant also argues that because there was no jury instruction requiring the prosecution to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the inferences in the challenged jury instructions allow the jury to aggregate the People's proof on all elements in order to find proof beyond a reasonable doubt in the People's overall case. Thus, based on the jury instructions considered as whole, the prosecution still had the burden of proving every element beyond a reasonable doubt and the jury could not convict defendant solely on proof of the other crimes." (People v. Van Winkle (1999) Cal. App. 4th at pp. 147-148.)