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Name: People v. Pennington
Case #: B249482
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/22/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 12/10/2014: S222227

A harbor patrol officer who performed necessary duties under the supervision of the police department is a “peace officer” within the meaning of Penal Code section 830.33, subdivision (b). Appellant was convicted of misdemeanor battery on a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 243, subd. (d)), for hitting and kicking a Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer who stopped him to investigate what looked like a theft of a hose. On appeal, he contended that the evidence was insufficient to show that the officer was a peace officer. Held: Affirmed. For purposes of appellant’s battery conviction, the relevant definition of “peace officer” is found in section 830.33, subdivision (b), which provides that harbor or port police are peace officers “if the primary duty of the peace officer is the enforcement of the law in or about the properties” of the harbor “or when [the officer is] performing necessary duties with respect to patrons, employees, and properties of the employing agency.” Applying rules of statutory construction, the appellate court concluded that a harbor patrol officer qualifies as a peace officer if the first or second clause of section 830.33, subdivision (b) is met. Here, the harbor patrol officer qualified as a peace officer under the second clause. The court disagreed with People v. Miller (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 653, which held that both clauses must be met. The court also held that the trial court erred by instructing the jury that a harbor patrol officer is a peace officer, but that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt due to the other instructions.