What is the test for insufficient evidence in a sexual assault case?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Flores, A155281 (Cal. App. 2019):

In assessing the sufficiency of the evidence, we review the entire record to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. (People v. Zamudio (2008) 43 Cal.4th 327, 357.) "The record must disclose substantial evidence to support the verdicti.e., evidence that is reasonable, credible, and of solid valuesuch that a reasonable trier of fact could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." (Ibid.) We review the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and presume in support of the judgment the existence of every fact the jury could reasonably deduce from the evidence. (Ibid.) We may not reweigh the evidence or resolve evidentiary conflicts. (Ibid.)

The testimony of a single witness can be sufficient to uphold a convictioneven when there is significant countervailing evidence. (People v. Barnwell (2007) 41 Cal.4th 1038, 1052.) " ' "A reasonable inference, however, 'may not be based on suspicion alone, or on imagination, speculation, supposition, surmise, conjecture, or guess work. [] . . . A finding of fact must be an inference drawn from evidence rather than . . . a mere speculation as to probabilities without evidence.' " [Citations.]' " (People v. Sifuentes (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1410, 1416-1417.) We may not reverse for insufficient evidence unless it appears " 'that upon no hypothesis whatever is there sufficient substantial evidence to support' " the jury's verdict. (People v. Bolin (1998) 18 Cal.4th 297, 331.)

II. Closing Arguments

During her closing argument, the prosecutor argued as follows:

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