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Name: In re J.C.
Case #: C075043
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/19/2014

Education Code section 32210 is not facially overbroad and may constitutionally be applied to minor’s conduct. A juvenile court sustained allegations that minor J.C. willfully resisted, delayed, or obstructed a police officer in the performance of his duty (Pen. Code, § 148, subd. (a)(1)) and willfully disturbed a public school. (Ed. Code, § 32210). Responding to a call that there was “an uncontrollable, irate student in the hallways,” a police officer found J.C. cursing and ignoring the principal’s orders at a public high school. The officer persuaded J.C. to go to the principal’s office, but he became more irate, and was screaming and yelling. When J.C. slammed a phone down on a table and refused to obey the officer’s orders to sit down and calm down, the officer decided to detain J.C. based on safety concerns. J.C. pulled away when the officer attempted to put him in a control hold. He was eventually handcuffed after a takedown and detained. On appeal, J.C. relied on Castro v. Superior Court (1970) 9 Cal.App.3d 675, which held a former version of section 32210 was overbroad, to argue that section 32210 is facially overbroad and therefore unconstitutional. Held: Affirmed. Applying the rule that courts must construe statutes so as to uphold their constitutionality if the statutory terms may fairly and reasonably be so interpreted, and the overbreadth analysis in Braxton v. Municipal Court (1973) 10 Cal.3d 138, the Court of Appeal concluded that “‘willfully disturb[] any public school’ means to act violently or in a manner that incites to violence, or to engage in ‘conduct physically incompatible with the peaceful functioning of the campus.'” So construed, section 32210 does not impinge on any conduct protected by the First Amendment. The court disagreed with Castro because the decision did not first attempt to find a narrowing construction of the statute.

Substantial evidence supported the finding that J.C. willfully resisted a police officer in the performance of his duties. J.C. also argued that substantial evidence did not support the judgment as to the resisting charge because he did not physically resist the officer before his arrest and at most failed to readily comply with the officer’s commands. Held: Affirmed. A person violates section 148, subdivision (a)(1) if he or she willfully resists, delays, or obstructs a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and the person knew or reasonably should have known that the other person was a peace officer so engaged. Here, the minor willfully resisted the officer by failing to comply with the officer’s orders to sit down and calm down, or with his subsequent order to submit peacefully to a detention. The minor not only failed to comply with this order but also tried to evade the officer’s grasp.