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Name: People v. Belton
Case #: C055046
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/18/2008

For purposes of Penal Code section 273.5, subdivision (a), the cohabitation element is interpreted broadly, but there still must be proof that the relationship has some permanency. The victim in this case testified that she and appellant had started a relationship in 2005, were intimate, and shared a room, but were then kicked out of it and became homeless. They continued to live together, sleeping in motels, friends’ houses, and a car, and shared meals. Although the victim claimed she had no emotional attachment to appellant, the evidence as to their contacts was sufficient to establish the cohabitation element.
A broken tooth can support a finding of serious bodily injury. Appellant’s assault on the victim resulted in her loss of a tooth up to its root, and sutures to her eyebrow and to her mouth. The court rejected appellant’s contention that as a matter of law a broken tooth should not be considered serious bodily injury. The court noted appellant could not replace the tooth because she lacked insurance, and this not only altered her appearance, but also prevented her teeth from being fully functional. As such, it constituted “serious impairment of physical condition,” so as to support the conviction for battery with serious bodily injury. (Pen. Code, sec. 243, subd. (f)(4).)