How have the courts treated the error in applying the wrong evidentiary standard in a sexual assault case?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Bowers, B282917 (Cal. App. 2018):

The People concede this much but assert the court's error in applying the wrong evidentiary standard must be deemed harmless because overwhelming evidence established that defendant committed a sexually violent offense. In so arguing, the People cite People v. Barasa for its holding that even where a defendant is "convicted with an incorrectly allocated burden of proof, in cases where there is uncontradicted evidence as to a point, there can be no prejudice ... ." (People v. Barasa (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 287, 296-297.) But unlike Barasa, where uncontroverted evidence and the defendant's own admissions established the factor that disqualified him for probation, the evidence before the court in this case pertaining to whether defendant's prior kidnapping conviction qualified as sexually violent was in dispute.

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