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In re Manuel G.

Supreme Court of California
941 P.2d 880 (1997)


Facts

Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Sims was investigating a gang-related shooting when he saw a known gang member, Manuel G. (defendant), a minor, walking down the street. Sims approached Manuel and asked if he could speak with Manuel about the shooting. Manuel replied that he knew nothing about it, but Sims continued to question him. Sims did not deter Manuel from continuing on his way or stop him. In response to Sims’s questions, Manuel began to threaten Sims and his fellow officers repeatedly, with statements such as “you better be watching your back . . . we’re going to start knocking you guys off.” Manuel continued to threaten Sims, stating that he and other officers would be killed if they continued to investigate the gang, even after Sims warned Manuel that threatening an officer was a crime. Sims arrested Manuel as his threats continued. The juvenile court held that Manuel had violated California Penal Code § 69, which criminalizes any attempt to deter an executive officer from performing duties imposed on the officer by law, by means of threat or violence. The court of appeal reversed the juvenile court’s ruling, holding that Sims had illegally detained Manuel prior to Manuel’s threats, that Sims was therefore not engaged in lawful duties at the time of the threats, and that the threats were therefore not illegal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (George, C.J.)

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