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In Re Rolando S., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court v. Rolando S

July 21, 2011

IN RE ROLANDO S., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
ROLANDO S., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Kings County. George L. Orndoff, Judge. (Super. Ct. No. 09JQ0153A)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Franson, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Appellant Rolando S. challenges the juvenile court's finding that he committed identity theft under Penal Code section 530.5, subdivision (a)*fn1 (hereafter section 530.5(a)) when he accessed the account of S.W. (the victim) on a social media website (Facebook), altered her profile and posted obscene messages and comments purportedly as the victim from her account in April 2010. Appellant argues his conduct fails to satisfy the statutory elements of the crime. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the judgment.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Appellant was one of several recipients of an unsolicited text message providing the password to the victim's email account. Appellant used the victim's email password and account to gain access to her Facebook account, where he posted, in her name, prurient messages on two of her male friends' pages (walls) and altered her profile description in a vulgar manner.*fn2 The victim found out about the messages and informed her father, who removed the messages from her account and later called the police.

Appellant admitted to the police that he posted the messages from the victim's Facebook account and altered her profile. A juvenile petition was filed alleging one count of violating section 530.5, subdivision (a) (willfully obtaining personal identifying information and using it for an unlawful purpose). After a contested jurisdiction hearing, the juvenile court found beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant had committed the crime charged and sustained the petition.

At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court denied appellant's motion to reduce the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor, without prejudice. The court noted its concern with the short time span between this offense and the disposition of a prior offense -- assault with a deadly weapon (a car), where appellant had driven his car at three girls with the intent of scaring them. The court found the maximum confinement time for the offense to be three years, and found the aggregated maximum confinement time to be three years and three months.*fn3 The court ordered appellant committed to the Kings County Juvenile Academy Alpha Program for 90 days to a year, and put him on probation.

DISCUSSION

Section 530.5(a) states in pertinent part:

"Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense ...."

The offense is a "wobbler," punishable either as a misdemeanor or a felony. (§ 530.5(a).) Section 530.55, subdivision (b) includes "unique electronic data" as "personal identifying information."

"[T]o be guilty under section 530.5, subdivision (a), the defendant must (1) willfully obtain personal identifying information of another person, and (2) use the identifying information for an unlawful purpose without the person's consent." (People v. Tillotson (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 517, 533.) The facts here are not in dispute. ...


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