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Name: In re A.L.
Case #: H045802
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/30/2019

Although minor argued the juvenile court erred by not considering her state of mind when finding she resisted police officers and committed battery on an officer, the record did not unambiguously show the court misapplied the law. The minor A.L. got into a fight with her sister that was sufficiently violent that police were called. When officers encountered the two, A.L. was standing over her sister, kicking her. Police attempted to restrain the A.L. who fought with them, scratching and biting. Based on the A.L.’s acts, the juvenile court sustained allegations she committed battery on a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 243, subd. (b)), resisted an officer by force (Pen. Code, § 69), and resisted an officer (Pen. Code, § 148, subd. (a)(1)). The court stated A.L. had no right to resist officers even if she believed that she was the victim of the offense and therefore illegally detained. A.L. appealed, arguing the court erred by not considering her state of mind at the time she resisted. Held: Affirmed. Battery on a peace officer (§ 243, subd. (b)) requires that the person committing the offense know or reasonably should know the victim is a peace officer performing a duty. Therefore, under this section it was irrelevant whether A.L. actually believed the officers were performing a duty in detaining her because it is enough that a reasonable person would have believed they were. A violation of section 69 occurs when a person knowingly deters or resists, by force or violence, an executive officer, in the performance of duty. Penal Code section 148, subd. (a)(1) prohibits a person from willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing any peace officer in the performance of duty. Sections 69 and 148, subdivision (a)(1) require that a defendant have actual knowledge she is resisting an officer in the performance of duty. However, no reversal was necessary in this case, as the juvenile court’s comments did not unambiguously reveal a misunderstanding of the law on that point, since the court may have only been referring to the section 243 count. [Editor’s Note: In a footnote, the court noted that the pattern jury instruction for section 148, subdivision (a) (CALCRIM No. 2656) is incorrect, but the accuracy of the instruction was not at issue in this case because there was no jury trial. The court disagreed with People v. Lopez (1986) 188 Cal.App.3d 592.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: