57 Cal.2d 711, 6999, People v. Imbler

Docket Nº:6999
Citation:57 Cal.2d 711, 21 Cal.Rptr. 568, 371 P.2d 304
Opinion Judge:[10] Traynor
Party Name:People v. Imbler
Attorney:[7] Gregory S. Stout, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant. [8] Stanley Mosk, Attorney General, William E. James and Gilbert F. Nelson, Assistant Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Case Date:May 17, 1962
Court:Supreme Court of California
 
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Page 711

57 Cal.2d 711

21 Cal.Rptr. 568, 371 P.2d 304

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

Paul Kern IMBLER, Defendant and Appellant.

Cr. 6999.

Supreme Court of California

May 17, 1962.

In Bank

Page 712

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 713

Gregory S. Stout, San Francisco, under appointment by Supreme Court, for defendant and appellant.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen., William E. James and Gilbert F. Nelson, Asst. Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

TRAYNOR, Justice.

Defendant was convicted of first degree murder and of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder. The jury fixed the penalty at death, and the trial court denied defendant's motion for a new trial. This appeal is automatic. (Pen.Code, § 1239, subd. (b).)

On the evening of January 4, 1961, two men entered a Los Angeles grocery store owned by Morris Hassen. They walked to the check stand where Mr. Hassen was leaning down dusting liquor bottles. Mrs. Hassen, who was standing nearby, testified that she moved to the check stand to wait on the men, that as she did so she noticed her husband getting up from behind the stand and that 'by the look of his face' she could see that something was wrong. When she bent down to ask what the trouble was, she saw a gun protruding from the coat of the man subsequently identified by other witnesses as defendant. A moment later the gun discharged, fatally wounding Mr. Hassen. The men turned, walked from the store, and departed in different directions.

At the trial defendant denied participating in the crime. His defense consisted primarily of an alibi and impeachment of the identification witnesses. The evidence, however, was more than sufficient to establish that he did the shooting. Although Mrs. Hassen was unable to see his face because his hat was tilted, she was able to identify the hat and coat he was wearing. She identified the second man from police photographs as Leonard Lingo, who was killed ten days after the shooting when he accompained defendant on an armed robbery in Pomona.

Page 714

Alfred Costello, an identification witness, was walking on the opposite side of the street when his attention was attracted to the store by two men standing at the cash register. When he heard a shot he crossed the street to investigate, and in a lighted area in front of the store and at a distance between 8 and 12 feet, he viewed defendant who was still wearing the hat and coat and still carrying a gun. According to Costello, defendant turned into an alley, dropped his hat, and began to run. Costello gave chase. Defendant paused in the alley under a light as if 'trying to make up his mind whether to go right or left,' and Costello was able to see him without the hat at a distance between 15 and 20 feet. Defendant...

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