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Name: People v. Powers
Case #: A103622
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/30/2004
Summary

Powers was the owner of a commercial fishing vessel, who filed false fishing activity reports which are required by the Department of Fish and Game. He was charged with several violations of Penal Code section 115, which prohibits knowingly offering a false instrument to be filed with a state public office. A magistrate sustained demurrers to the charges upon finding that a fishing activity record is not an instrument within the meaning of Penal Code section 115, and because prosecution under section 115 was precluded by the more specific statute which penalizes failure to submit a complete and accurate record of fishing activities. The prosecutor appealed, and in this opinion the appellate court reversed the orders sustaining the demurrers. A fishing activity report required to be filed under the Fish and Game Code is an instrument within the meaning of section 115. Further, the specific statute did not preclude filing under section 115 because the terms of the two statutes are not identical. Section 115 is limited to the more egregious conduct of filing false instruments, which is punished more severely than the regulation 190.