Defendant was convicted of rape, oral copulation, and attempted sodomy in Superior Court, Los Angeles County. The case against him rested predominantly on the testimony of his adult victim, partially corroborated as to identity by a scratch on defendant’s forehead, and further substantiated by defendant’s “if I did it I was drunk” admission to the police. The defendant appealed alleging error by the trial judge for failing to give a mandatory cautionary instruction. The California Supreme Court held that because the defendant was entitled to the cautionary instruction the trial judge had committed error in refusing to give it. Such error, however, was not prejudicial. The defendant’s conviction was affirmed. This Case Note argues that the cautionary instruction should be employed only by jurisdictions which allow the trial court to comment on evidence and credibility, and then only when there has been unsubstantial or no corroboration of the complaint.
CRIMINAL LAW--Rape--Cautionary Instruction in Sex Offense Trial Relating Prosecutrix's Credibility to the Nature of the Crime Charged is No Longer Mandatory; Discretionary Use is Disapproved,
4 Fordham Urb. L.J. 419
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ulj/vol4/iss2/10