CALCRIM No. 2902. Damaging Phone or Electrical Line (Pen. Code, § 591)

Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instructions (2022 edition)

Download PDF
Bg803
2902.Damaging Phone or Electrical Line (Pen. Code, § 591)
The defendant is charged [in Count ] with (taking down[,]/ [or]
removing [,]/ [or] damaging[,]/ [or] disconnecting/ [or] cutting/[or]
obstructing/severing/making an unauthorized connection to) a (telegraph/
telephone/cable television/electrical) line [in violation of Penal Code
section 591].
To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must
prove that:
<Alternative 1A - removed, damaged, or obstructed>
[1. The defendant unlawfully (took down[,]/ [or] removed[,]/ [or]
damaged[,]/ [or] obstructed/ [or] disconnected/ [or] cut) [part of] a
(telegraph/telephone/cable television/electrical) line [or mechanical
equipment connected to the line];]
<Alternative 1B - severed>
[1. The defendant unlawfully severed a wire of a (telegraph/telephone/
cable television/electrical) line;]
<Alternative 1C - unauthorized connection>
[1. The defendant unlawfully made an unauthorized connection with
[part of] a line used to conduct electricity [or mechanical equipment
connected to the line];]
AND
2. The defendant did so maliciously.
Someone acts maliciously when he or she intentionally does a wrongful
act or when he or she acts with the unlawful intent to annoy or injure
someone else.
[As used here, mechanical equipment includes a telephone.]
New January 2006; Revised August 2015, September 2019
BENCH NOTES
Instructional Duty
The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the
crime.
The statute uses the term “injure.” (Pen. Code, § 591.) The committee has replaced
the word “injure” with the word “damage” because the word “injure” generally
refers to harm to a person rather than to property.
The statute uses the phrase “appurtenances or apparatus.” (Pen. Code, § 591.) The
729
Copyright Judicial Council of California
Bg804
committee has chosen to use the more understandable “mechanical equipment” in
place of this phrase.
Give the bracketed sentence that states mechanical equipment includes a telephone”
on request. (People v. Tafoya (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 220, 227 [111 Cal.Rptr.2d 681];
People v. Kreiling (1968) 259 Cal.App.2d 699, 704 [66 Cal.Rptr. 582].)
AUTHORITY
Elements. Pen. Code, § 591.
Maliciously Defined. Pen. Code, § 7, subd. 4; People v. Lopez (1986) 176
Cal.App.3d 545, 550 [222 Cal.Rptr. 101].
Applies to Damage to Telephone. People v. Tafoya (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 220,
227; People v. Kreiling (1968) 259 Cal.App.2d 699, 704 [66 Cal.Rptr. 582].
“Obstruct” Not Unconstitutionally Vague. Kreiling v. Field (9th Cir. 1970) 431
F.2d 502, 504.
Applies to Theft of Service. People v. Trieber (1946) 28 Cal.2d 657, 661 [171
P.2d 1].
General Intent Crime. People v. Quarles (2018) 25 Cal.App.5th 631, 636 [236
Cal.Rptr.3d 49].
SECONDARY SOURCES
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against
Property §§ 304, 305.
2903-2914. Reserved for Future Use
CALCRIM No. 2902 VANDALISM, LOITERING, AND TRESPASS
730
Copyright Judicial Council of California

© Judicial Council of California.