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Name: In re B.L.
Case #: A144366
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/31/2015
Summary

Knocking an object out of a person’s hand, without touching the person, is sufficient touching to constitute a criminal battery. B.L. punched her P.E. teacher in the face and kicked him in the groin. Another P.E. teacher, who observed the altercation, approached B.L. holding her walkie-talkie in a manner so it would capture the commotion and alert other staff. B.L. slapped the walkie-talkie out of the second P.E. teacher’s hand. A wardship petition was filed alleging two counts of misdemeanor battery on school employees (Pen. Code, §§ 242, 243.6). After a contested hearing, the juvenile court sustained the petition. B.L. appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the battery allegation with respect to the second P.E. teacher because she only made contact with the P.E. teacher’s walkie-talkie, not her actual person. Held: Affirmed. Battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another. (Pen. Code, § 242.) The slightest degree of touching is sufficient. Although no prior case has held that contact by a defendant with an object held by another is a touching of the person herself, the court here concluded that the juvenile court correctly sustained the battery allegation. Criminal law treatises and courts in other jurisdictions have determined that direct touching of the victim is not required for a battery to occur; touching something intimately connected with the victim’s body is sufficient. The Court of Appeal here found this authority persuasive and interpreted section 242 to prohibit the touching an object held by a person. As a result, there was sufficient evidence that B.L. committed battery when she knocked the walkie-talkie out of the teacher’s hand.