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Name: In re R. K.
Case #: C056541
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/21/2008

A woodshed adjacent to a house does not constitute a public place for the purpose of Penal Code section 647, subdivision (f) (drunk in public) as it is not a place for common use, participation, or enjoyment (In re Zorn (1963) 59 Cal.2d 650, 652). In response to a call regarding juveniles drinking, the deputy sheriff went to a house around midnight and attempted to contact anyone who might be inside but all the doors were locked and the lights were off. He then went around the side of the house to a wood shed that was about 10 to 15 feet from the house. Hearing noises inside the woodshed, he shined his flashlight inside it and discovered the minor who obviously had been drinking and was inadequately dressed for the weather conditions and asked him to come to the street where he cited him for violation of Penal Code section 647, subdivsion (f). The trial court found sufficient evidence to sustain the allegation but the appellate court reversed, ruling that there was no proof that the woodshed was a public place. The court found that it was irrelevant that minor was voluntarily in the street, a public place, when he received the citation, the focus of the violation being on the location where the officer initially found him.