California Penal Code Section 71

In In re Ernesto H. (2004) 125 Cal.App.4th 298, the Court applied the independent review standard to determine whether a high school student, who raised a "plausible First Amendment defense," was properly found by a juvenile court to have violated Penal Code section 71. (Ernesto H., supra, 125 Cal.App.4th at pp. 302-303.) Penal Code section 71 states: "Every person who, with intent to cause, attempts to cause, or causes, any officer or employee of any public or private educational institution or any public officer or employee to do, or refrain from doing, any act in the performance of his duties, by means of a threat, directly communicated to such person, to inflict an unlawful injury upon any person or property, and it reasonably appears to the recipient of the threat that such threat could be carried out, is guilty of a public offense . . . ." While the Court conducted an independent review of the first element of the crime, i.e., whether there was a threat to inflict unlawful injury, to determine "whether the minor's First Amendment rights were violated by the juvenile court's finding that he threatened a teacher," the Court applied "the customary standard of review for substantial evidence in support of the juvenile court's finding" as to the second element of the crime that was challenged, i.e., intent to influence the performance of the teacher's official duties. (See id. at pp. 308, 310-314.)