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California Civil Detainee Convicted of Assaulting Guard

California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals has affirmed the conviction for battery upon a custodial officer against a “civil committee.” Following the jury’s verdict, a sentence of eight years was imposed upon “two strikes offender” Jeremy Noel Dooley.

Dooley was a civil committee at the Shasta County Jail at the time of the incident. Due to his status, he was confined away from general population prisoners. His confinement in the jail medical wing, nonetheless, required him to comply with the same rules as other prisoners.

That, however, was not how Dooley saw it. When guard John Westmoreland told Dooley on April 17, 2009 that he had to wear a wristband, Dooley responded that he did not have to follow the rules and that he was allergic to the metal clasp on the wristband.

The next day, Westmoreland noticed Dooley was not wearing the wristband. Several interactions occurred with Dooley insisting the rules did not apply to him. Westmoreland decided to handcuff Dooley to take him to the sergeant’s office to resolve the issue.

When he reached for Dooley’s hand, he shouted, “Don’t fucking touch me. I’m a civilian. I don’t have to follow your rules.” As Westmoreland reached for Dooley, he knocked the guard’s arm away and slapped him in the face. A struggle ensued on the cell’s bed and Dooley eventually ran down the hall. Once Westmoreland caught up, Dooley punched him in the chest three or four times. Westmoreland finally gained control of Dooley.

The Appeals Court rejected Dooley’s claims that: 1) There was insufficient evidence to support the conviction; 2) He was entitled to a supplemental instruction defining “custodial officer;” 3) He was entitled to a lesser included battery instruction.

See: People v. Dooley, No. C062665, Oct. 18, 2010.

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Related legal case

People v. Dooley