Posted On: August 31, 2012 by Mary Frances Prevost

FUGGETABOUTIT! FAILING TO GIVE A REASONABLE DOUBT INSTRUCTION - NOT A BIG DEAL SAYS CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT!

In this strange, strange case, the judge failed to tell the jurors that they could only convict the
defendant of the charged gang offense if they found it had been proved
beyond a reasonable doubt.

The court admits that this is federal constitutional error. But they say that itis not structural error requiring reversal, it's subject to a harmless error test. They find harmless error, because the court did give reasonable doubt instructions on a second count.

Justice Liu writes a searing dissent (joined by Kennard), calling the majority's position "mystifying," and "contrary to common sense," for all the good that does.

People v. Aranda; 2012 DJ DAR 11840; DJ, 8/28/12; Cal. Supremes

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