California Criminal Jury Instructions (CALCRIM) (2017)

2902. Damaging Phone or Electrical Line

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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];]
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
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
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.
• 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].
Seconday Sources
2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (4th ed. 2012) Crimes Against
Property §§ 304, 305.
2903–2914. Reserved for Future Use