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Actor Sean Penn Charged with Battery and Vandalism

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 24, 2010 9:50 AM

Over the years, Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn has had many brawls with the paparazzi -- most notably during the time when he was dating Madonna.

His latest altercation however, happened in Brentwood, California where Penn allegedly attacked a photographer and broke his camera, the Los Angeles Times reports. The incident occurred outside the Brentwood Country Mart in October officials said.

Now, Penn faces up to 18 months in jail if convicted of misdemeanor charges of battery and vandalism, according to the city attorney's office.

The incident was captured on video by TMZ celebrity web site. Penn is accused of kicking the man several times and damaging his camera.

In general, battery is both a tort and a crime. The main distinction between the two categories lies in who is pursuing the case -- law enforcement in a criminal action, or the victim in a civil lawsuit -- and in the penalty imposed.

Generally, the following elements must be proven to establish a case for battery:

  • an act by a defendant;
  • an intent to cause harmful or offensive contact on the part of the defendant; and
  • harmful or offensive contact to the plaintiff.

The 49-year-old actor, Penn has starred for "Milk" and "Mystic River".

His run-ins with the paparazzi date back to 1985, Penn when received a suspended sentence after pleading no contest to charges he had attacked two British journalists who tried to photograph Madonna outside a Nashville hotel.

Then in 1987, Penn sentenced to 60 days in jail for punching a movie extra on the set of the police drama "Colors."

At that time, he already was on probation for punching a songwriter at a Silver Lake nightclub because he thought the man had kissed his wife, Madonna.

In his latest case, Penn will be arraigned March 22 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.