CACI 4006 Sufficiency of Indirect Circumstantial Evidence

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

4006 Sufficiency of Indirect Circumstantial Evidence

You may not decide that [name of respondent] is gravely disabled based substantially on indirect evidence unless this evidence:

1.Is consistent with the conclusion that [name of respondent] is gravely disabled due to [a mental disorder/impairment by chronic alcoholism]; and

2.Cannot be explained by any other reasonable conclusion.

If the indirect evidence suggests two reasonable interpretations, one of which suggests the existence of a grave disability and the other its nonexistence, then you must accept the interpretation that suggests [name of respondent] is not gravely disabled.

If, on the other hand, one interpretation of this evidence appears to you to be reasonable and the other interpretation to be unreasonable, you must accept the reasonable interpretation and reject the unreasonable one.

If you base your verdict on indirect evidence, [name of petitioner] must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each fact essential to your conclusion that [name of respondent] is gravely disabled.

Directions for Use

Read this instruction immediately after CACI No. 202, Direct and Indirect Evidence.

Sources and Authority

“[W]here proof to establish a conservatorship for a person alleged to be gravely disabled is based upon substantially circumstantial evidence, the proposed conservatee is entitled, on request in an appropriate case, to have the jurors instructed as to the principles relevant when applying circumstantial evidence to the beyond a reasonable doubt burden of proof.” (Conservatorship of Walker (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 1082, 1088 [242 Cal.Rptr. 289].)

“A proposed conservatee is entitled to procedural due process protections similar to a criminal defendant since fundamental liberty rights are at stake. The trial court had a sua sponte duty to correctly instruct on the general principles of law necessary for the jury’s understanding of the case.” (Conservatorship of Walker, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1092, fn. 5, internal citations omitted.)

“The court has no duty to give the [circumstantial evidence jury instructions applicable to criminal cases] in a case where the circumstantial evidence necessary to prove a certain mental state is not subject to any inference except that pointing to the existence of that mental state.” (Conservatorship of Walker, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1098; Conservatorship of Law (1988) 202 Cal.App.3d 1336, 1342 [249 Cal.Rptr. 415].)

“Where a noncriminal case is to be evaluated by a reasonable doubt standard, it follows that a party on a proper state of the evidence is entitled on request to have jurors informed of the manner in which that standard must be established when the evidence consists substantially of circumstantial evidence.” (Conservatorship of Walker, supra, 196 Cal.App.3d at p. 1098.)

Secondary Sources

3 Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Actions, §§ 100, 104
2 California Conservatorship Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar) § 23.90
32 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 361A, Mental Health and Mental Disabilities: Judicial Commitment, Health Services, and Civil Rights, § 361A.33 (Matthew Bender)