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Name: People v. Casarez
Case #: F061052
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/12/2012

A felony violation of Penal Code section 529, subdivision (a)(2), false impersonation, requires verification, publication, acknowledgment or proof of a written instrument with the intent that the same be recorded, delivered or used as true. While patting down appellant, an officer pulled a paper from his pocket. Appellant stated it was a birth certificate to prove his identity. The certificate bore the name of Tony Contreras. Officers discovered his true identity by distinctive tattoos and he ultimately admitted that he was carrying his brother’s birth certificate to avoid being apprehended on an outstanding warrant. Here there was only an oral claim of identity. The felony conviction was overturned because it requires an intent for an act beyond simply offering the document. The plain language of the statute contains terms of art such as verify, acknowledge, prove or publish and must be done with the intent that it be recorded, delivered, or used. In contrast, the misdemeanor, section 529a, prohibits offering, displaying or possessing a genuine birth certificate which describes a person, living or deceased, with the intent to represent himself as another or to conceal his true identity.