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Name: People v. Wilkinson
Case #: B154520
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/17/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 12/11/02: S111028

The statutes prohibiting battery on a custodial officer (Pen. Code, secs. 243, subds. (b) and (c)(1), and 243.1) violate equal protection because they allow prosecutors to arbitrarily subject those who commit less egregious acts to greater punishment than those committing more serious acts. Here there are three options: 1) a straight felony (sec. 243.1), 2) a straight misdemeanor (sec. 243), and 3) when there is an infliction of an injury on the officer, a “wobbler” (sec. 243, subd.(c)(1)). Here the defendant may or may not have inflicted an injury by grabbing the officer’s arm so hard that welts appeared. This is an irrational scheme since the prosecutor would be encouraged to charge her with the greater offense of felony battery, since the prosecutor would not have to prove any injury. The statutory scheme punishes more culpable conduct less severely.