What obligations does the trial court have to instruct the jury on general principles of law?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Talamantes, 11 Cal.App.4th 968, 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 311 (Cal. App. 1992):

The trial court had a sua sponte duty to instruct the jury on applicable general principles of law. (People v. Kimble (1988) 44 Cal.3d 480, 503, 244 [11 Cal.App.4th 975] Cal.Rptr. 148, 749 P.2d 803.) It did so. "[I]t was defendant's obligation to request any clarifying or amplifying instructions...." (Ibid.) Appellant made no such request to the trial court and "error cannot now be predicated upon the trial court's failure to give them on its own motion." (People v. Anderson (1966) 64 Cal.2d 633, 639, 51 Cal.Rptr. 238, 414 P.2d 366.)

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