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Name: People v. Bernal
Case #: D062831
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/20/2013

A violation of Penal Code section 69, which prohibits knowingly resisting an executive officer in the performance of his duties, does not require proof the defendant used force on or against the officer. Officers in Escondido were patrolling a bike path that runs along a flood control channel. Because it was after dusk, the area, which is subject to a gang injunction, was closed. The officers approach a trio of males that included Bernal. After one of the trio dropped a knife, police conducted patdown searches of the men, finding an axe in Bernal’s waistband. As one of the officers tried to handcuff him, Bernal attempted to run away, dragging the officer a few feet down the path with him. Bernal was convicted of violating section 69, as well as other offenses. On appeal Bernal claimed the section 69 conviction was unsupported because he did not use force on or against the officer. Held: Affirmed. There are two ways section 69 can be violated: by use of threats or violence to deter an officer from performing his duty, or by resisting the officer with force or violence to prevent him from performing his duty. Bernal was charged and convicted under the second prong. Other than forceful resistance, the statute does not require that the defendant intend to commit harm or direct any other force or violence towards the officer’s person. Bernal’s forceful attempt to escape, which caused the officer to be dragged behind him, supported his conviction.