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Name: In re Charles G.
Case #: A149593
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/25/2017

Juvenile court did not err in finding minor violated both Penal Code sections 29610 (possession of a firearm by a minor) and 25400, subdivision (a)(2) (carrying a concealed firearm). The juvenile court sustained allegations in a delinquency petition that Charles G. violated Penal Code sections 25400, subdivision (a)(2) (carrying a concealed firearm) and 29610 (possession of a firearm capable of concealment by a minor). On appeal, he argued the juvenile court improperly found that he violated both sections 25400 and 29610 because section 25400 is preempted by section 26910, a more specific statute targeting minors. Held: Affirmed. Under In re Williamson (1954) 43 Cal.3d 651, “if a general statute includes the same conduct as a special statute, the court infers that the Legislature intended that conduct to be prosecuted exclusively under the specific statute.” (People v. Murphy (2011) 52 Cal.4th 81, 86.) The rule applies “when it appears from the statutory context that a violation of the special statute will necessarily or commonly result in a violation of the general statute.” (Ibid.) Here, the two statutes prohibit different conduct. Section 25400, subdivision (a)(2) requires proof that a person carried and concealed a firearm, while section 29610 prohibits a minor’s possession of a firearm and the firearm need not be concealed. Although possession of a firearm by a minor in certain circumstances could constitute carrying a concealed firearm, it would not commonly do so because “possession” is broader than “carrying.” The two statutes also serve different purposes, and adult defendants can be convicted of both possessing and carrying a firearm, which further suggests that a juvenile can be convicted of both possessing and carrying a firearm. Under these circumstances, the Court of Appeal could not “conclude that the Legislature necessarily or even likely intended by enacting section 29610 to preclude prosecution of a juvenile under section 25400, subdivision (a)(2).”

Juvenile court erred in finding minor violated Penal Code section 148 by willfully resisting, delaying, or obstructing a peace officer where the prosecution failed to prove that the minor knew or should have known that police were pursuing him. The juvenile court also sustained an allegation that Charles violated section 148, subdivision (a)(1) (willfully resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer in the officer’s performance of his duties). At a contested dispositional hearing, the prosecution presented evidence that a woman identified Charles and a friend as the perpetrators of a burglary in her home. A short time after the identification, Charles and his friend were walking down the street wearing backpacks. A police officer drove within 30 yards of Charles and his friend, who both jogged or ran across the street and entered a restaurant. Police apprehended the friend inside the restaurant, and another officer found Charles behind a grocery store, without his backpack. Charles looked at the officer and then jumped over a fence. The juvenile court found Charles knowingly fled from the officer, who saw him jump over the fence. On appeal, Charles argued there was insufficient evidence that he knew the officers were trying to detain him. The Court of Appeal agreed. To convict Charles of violating section 148, subdivision (a)(1), the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Charles willfully resisted, delayed, or obstructed a peace officer. Although it could reasonably be inferred that Charles abandoned his backpack, which contained a loaded firearm, and then jumped over a fence after he saw a second officer, this conduct was consistent with a general desire to avoid detection and did not establish that Charles knew the police were pursuing him. Because there was no evidence Charles knew his friend had been detained, and the second officer took no direct action to try to stop Charles, there was not substantial evidence that Charles knew the police wanted to stop him.

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