269 Cal.App.2d 509, 11918, In re Donaldson

Docket Nº:11918
Citation:269 Cal.App.2d 509, 75 Cal.Rptr. 220
Opinion Judge:[11] Regan
Party Name:In re Donaldson
Attorney:[7] Paul Petrozzi, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant. [8] Paul N. Halvonik as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Defendant and Appellant. [9] Thomas C. Lynch, Attorney General, Edsel W. Haws and Arnold O. Overoye, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Case Date:February 06, 1969
Court:California Court of Appeals

Page 509

269 Cal.App.2d 509

75 Cal.Rptr. 220

In re David Reuben DONALDSON, a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.

James D. MERCER, Chief Probation Officer of the County of El Dorado, Petitioner and Respondent,


David Reuben DONALDSON, Objector and Appellant.

Civ. 11918.

California Court of Appeal, Third District

Feb. 6, 1969.

Hearing Denied April 2, 1969.

Paul Petrozzi, Court Appointed Counsel, Sacramento, for appellant.

Page 510

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., by Edsel W. Haws and Arnold O. Overoye, Deputy Atty. Gen., Sacramento, for respondent.

REGAN, Associate Justice.

The vice principal at Ponderosa High School in Placerville, upon being told by a student that she could purchase speed or methedrine pills at the school, advised her to make the purchase. The purchase of three pills was made, the pills were delivered to the vice principal, and the seller identified as defendant herein, a student of the school who was 15 years of age. Thereupon the vice principal searched defendant's book locker and found four half cigarettes made of marijuana and a plastic bag containing marijuana. The search was without a warrant and without defendant's consent. The school administration retained the combinations to all student lockers and by means of master keys entered them from time to time to examine their contents for articles detrimental to the student body.

Defendant appeals from a judgment finding him to be a ward of the juvenile court (Welf. & Inst.Code, § 602), in that he violated section 11530 of the Health and Safety Code (possession of marijuana).

Defendant contends that prejudicial error was committed by the court in admitting into evidence the cigarettes and plastic bag which had been obtained by an unlawful search and seizure carried out by a school official upon appellant's locker, since the school official was in fact a governmental official within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

The People, in a two-pronged argument, assert that the vice principal stands In loco parentis and has joint control over the locker and also is a private person as to whom the Fourth Amendment has no application.

In Stapleton v. Superior Court, 70 A.C. 101, 103--104, 73 Cal.Rptr. 575, 577, 969, the court states:

'The Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the states, and evidence obtained in violation of that amendment is inadmissible in state courts. (Mapp v. Ohio (1961) 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 (84 A.L.R.2d 933).) The Fourth Amendment does not apply, however, to searches by private individuals (Burdeau v. McDowell (1921) 256 U.S. 465, 41 S.Ct. 574, 65 L.Ed. 1048 (13 A.L.R. 1159).)'

In Stapleton, supra, it is pointed out that because the search there was clearly part of a joint operation by police

Page 511

and the private individual it was tainted with state action and consequently violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition. We find no joint operation by police and the school official in the case before us.

In People v. Superior Court, 70 A.C. 129, 135, 74 Cal.Rptr. 294, 298, 234, the court, in deciding whether or not section 1538.5 of the Penal Code is available to effect suppression of evidence Not obtained as the result of a search or seizure by a government agent, and concluding the section is not applicable, states: '(T)he standard or test of reasonableness is that required by...

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