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Name: People v. Tafoya
Case #: E029271
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 09/12/2001
Subsequent History: Rehearing granted & opinion issued 9/12/01. Review Denied December 12, 2001

Appellant and his estranged wife were arguing, and he hit her and threatened her. When she picked up the cordless phone to call her mother, appellant removed the battery. She subsequently made the call to police from another phone. Appellant was convicted of a violation of Penal Code section 591, unlawfully and maliciously injuring or obstructing a telephone line or a connected apparatus. On appeal, he argued that section 591 requires some kind of damage which prevents access to the telephone line. The appellate court here affirmed the conviction. Section 591 is in the disjunctive: it prohibits damaging the line or an apparatus connected to it. Here, it did not matter whether there was another telephone on the same line, which remained undamaged. The Legislature did not intend the case to turn on whether another phone was available.