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People v. Pennington

Filed 8/17/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA THE PEOPLE, ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) S222227 ) v. ) Ct.App. 2/6 B249482 ) BRYAN M. PENNINGTON, ) Santa Barbara County ) Super. Ct. No. 1423213 Defendant and Appellant. ) ____________________________________) Defendant was convicted of misdemeanor battery (Pen. Code, § 242)1 of a person listed in section 243, subdivision (b), specifically a ―peace officer‖ (ibid.). We granted review to decide whether the People proved the victim, a member of the City of Santa Barbara harbor patrol, was in fact a peace officer. Unlike most municipal police officers and deputy sheriffs, who are peace officers by virtue of their appointment and employment in that capacity (see § 830.1, subd. (a)), not all harbor patrol officers are peace officers. Instead, harbor patrol officers are peace officers only if their ―primary duty . . . is the enforcement of the law in or about the properties owned, operated, or administered by the harbor or port or when performing necessary duties with respect to patrons, employees, and properties of the harbor or port.‖ (§ 830.33, subd. (b).) Agreeing with People v. Miller (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 653, 665–668 (Miller), we conclude the statutory language 1 All further citations to statutes are to the Penal Code, except as noted. SEE CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION defines a harbor patrol officer as a peace officer only if the particular officer‘s primary duty is law enforcement in either of two circumstances: when acting on or about the property or when performing necessary duties anywhere in the state. The Court of Appeal below declined to follow Miller and affirmed defendant‘s conviction, even though the People did not prove the harbor patrol officer whom defendant battered had the required primary duty of law enforcement. We therefore reverse defendant‘s conviction.2 I. BACKGROUND Given the narrow issue before us, the facts of the offense may be presented briefly. The case arose from an incident at a marina involving defendant Bryan M. Pennington and officers of the Santa Barbara harbor patrol, an agency of the City of Santa Barbara. Defendant, who possessed neither a keycard to the marina nor permission to enter, obtained access by grabbing a gate just before it closed and locked. A manager who recognized defendant called the harbor patrol to report the unauthorized entry. Harbor patrol officers Richard Hubbard and Ryan Kelly responded to the call in a marked harbor patrol truck, wearing uniforms, badges, sidearms, Tasers, handcuffs, and other policing tools. The officers saw defendant near a storage box, holding a coiled hose over his shoulder. Officer Hubbard recognized defendant from a prior incident at the marina. Defendant walked towards the exit gate. Standing in defendant‘s path on a narrow finger of the dock, the officers asked him to stop and told him he could not leave with the hose. Defendant returned the hose to the storage box and walked back toward the exit, ignoring the 2 Our decision to reverse defendant‘s misdemeanor conviction for battery does not affect …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court