CACI No. 1305. Battery by Peace Officer - Essential Factual Elements

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 edition)

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1305.Battery by Peace Officer - Essential Factual Elements
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] harmed
[him/her/nonbinary pronoun] by using unreasonable force to [arrest [him/
her/nonbinary pronoun]/prevent [his/her/nonbinary pronoun]
escape/overcome [his/her/nonbinary pronoun] resistance/[insert other
applicable action]]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove
all of the following:
1. That [name of defendant] intentionally touched [name of plaintiff]
[or caused [name of plaintiff] to be touched];
2. That [name of defendant] used unreasonable force to
[arrest/prevent the escape of/overcome the resistance of/insert
other applicable action][name of plaintiff];
3. That [name of plaintiff] did not consent to the use of that force;
4. That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and
5. That [name of defendant]’s use of unreasonable force was a
substantial factor in causing [name of plaintiff]’s harm.
[A/An] [insert type of peace offıcer] may use reasonable force to arrest or
detain a person when the officer has reasonable cause to believe that that
person has committed a crime. Even if the officer is mistaken, a person
being arrested or detained has a duty not to use force to resist the officer
unless the peace officer is using unreasonable force.
In deciding whether [name of defendant] used unreasonable force, you
must determine the amount of force that would have appeared
reasonable to [a/an] [insert type of peace offıcer] in [name of defendant]’s
position under the same or similar circumstances. You should consider,
among other factors, the following:
(a) The seriousness of the crime at issue;
(b) Whether [name of plaintiff] reasonably appeared to pose an
immediate threat to the safety of [name of defendant] or others;
(c) Whether [name of plaintiff] was actively resisting arrest or
attempting to evade arrest.
[[A/An] [insert type of peace offıcer] who makes or attempts to make an
arrest is not required to retreat or cease from the officer’s efforts
because the person being arrested resists or threatens to resist.]
New September 2003; Revised December 2012, May 2020
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Directions for Use
For additional authorities on excessive force, see the Sources and Authority for
CACI No. 440, Unreasonable Force by Law Enforcement in Arrest or Other
Seizure - Essential Factual Elements, and CACI No. 3020, Excessive Use of
Force - Unreasonable Arrest or Other Seizure - Essential Factual Elements.
For cases involving the use of deadly force by a peace officer, Penal Code section
835a may require modifications to the instruction.
Sources and Authority
• Use of Objectively Reasonable Force to Arrest. Penal Code section 835a.
• Duty to Submit to Arrest. Penal Code section 834a.
• “Plaintiff must prove unreasonable force as an element of the tort.” (Edson v.
City of Anaheim (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1269, 1272 [74 Cal.Rptr.2d 614].)
• “ ‘ “The ‘reasonableness’ of a particular use of force must be judged from the
perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision
of hindsight. . . . [T]he question is whether the officers’ actions are ‘objectively
reasonable’ in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without
regard to their underlying intent or motivation. . . .” ’ In calculating whether the
amount of force was excessive, a trier of fact must recognize that peace officers
are often forced to make split-second judgments, in tense circumstances,
concerning the amount of force required.” (Brown v. Ransweiler (2009) 171
Cal.App.4th 516, 527-528 [89 Cal.Rptr.3d 801], internal citations omitted.)
• “A police officer’s use of deadly force is reasonable if ‘ “ ‘the officer has
probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or
serious physical injury to the officer or others.’ . . .” . . .’ ” (Brown, supra, 171
Cal.App.4th at p. 528.)
• “[T]here is no right to use force, reasonable or otherwise, to resist an unlawful
detention . . . .” (Evans v. City of Bakersfield (1994) 22 Cal.App.4th 321, 333
[27 Cal.Rptr.2d 406].)
• “[E]xecution of an unlawful arrest or detention does not give license to an
individual to strike or assault the officer unless excessive force is used or
threatened; excessive force in that event triggers the individual’s right of self-
defense.” (Evans, supra, 22 Cal.App.4th at p. 331, internal citation omitted.)
• “Consistent with these principles and the factors the high court has identified, the
federal court in this case did not instruct the jury to conduct some abstract or
nebulous balancing of competing interests. Instead, as noted above, it instructed
the jury to determine the reasonableness of the officers’ actions in light of ‘the
totality of the circumstances at the time,’ including ‘the severity of the crime at
issue, whether the plaintiff posed a reasonable threat to the safety of the officer
or others, and whether the plaintiff was actively resisting detention or attempting
to escape.’ The same consideration of the totality of the circumstances is
required in determining reasonableness under California negligence law.
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Moreover, California’s civil jury instructions specifically direct the jury, in
determining whether police officers used unreasonable force for purposes of tort
liability, to consider the same factors that the high court has identified and that
the federal court’s instructions in this case set forth. (Judicial Council of Cal.
Civ. Jury Instns. (2008) CACI No. 1305.) Thus, plaintiffs err in arguing that the
federal and state standards of reasonableness differ in that the former involves a
fact finder’s balancing of competing interests.” (Hernandez v. City of Pomona
(2009) 46 Cal.4th 501, 514 [94 Cal. Rptr. 3d 1, 207 P.3d 506], internal citation
Secondary Sources
5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, § 496
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 41, Assault and Battery, § 41.24 (Matthew
6 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 58, Assault and Battery, §§ 58.22,
58.61, 58.92 (Matthew Bender)
2 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 21, Assault and Battery, § 21.20 et seq.
(Matthew Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts § 12:22 (Thomson Reuters)
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