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Name: People v. Dooley
Case #: C062665
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/18/2010

A correctional officer in a county jail is a custodial officer for the purpose of Penal Code section 243.1 (battery on a custodial officer) regardless whether defendant is a civil or criminal committee. Appellant was convicted of Penal Code section 243.1. According to the evidence presented at trial, appellant was detained in the county jail as a civil committee because of a petition seeking a sexually violent predator finding. On the day of the incident, the victim was a correctional officer in the jail in charge of the medical ward where appellant was confined. Appellant refused to comply with the victim’s orders, and when the victim attempted to escort appellant to the sergeant’s office to resolve the matter, appellant assaulted him. The appellate court rejected appellant’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to prove the victim was a “custodial officer” for the purpose of section 243.1. Under the statute, a custodial officer is defined in Penal Code section 831 as (1) a public officer, (2) employed by a law enforcement agency, (3) who has authority for maintaining custody of prisoners. The evidence presented at trial was such that a reasonable jury could find that the victim satisfied these three elements. Appellant’s status as a civil committee, rather than a criminal committee, is immaterial as the focus of the statue is the class of victims it seeks to protect, and not the classification of the attacker.