6 Cal.3d 811, 15948, People v. Myers

Docket Nº:15948
Citation:6 Cal.3d 811, 100 Cal.Rptr. 612, 494 P.2d 684
Opinion Judge:[10] Wright
Party Name:People v. Myers
Attorney:[7] Robert L. Fletcher, Jr., under appointment by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant. [8] Evelle J. Younger, Attorney General, Robert R. Granucci and Charles R. B. Kirk, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Case Date:March 21, 1972
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 811

6 Cal.3d 811

100 Cal.Rptr. 612, 494 P.2d 684

The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,


William Glenn MYERS, Defendant and Appellant.

Cr. 15948.

Supreme Court of California

March 21, 1972.

In Bank

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Robert L. Fletcher, Jr., Los Alamitos, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for defendant and appellant.

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Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen., Robert R. Granucci and Charles R. B. Kirk, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

WRIGHT, Chief Justice.

William Glenn Myers appeals from a judgment upon jury convictions of illegal possession of marijuana (Health & Saf.Code, § 11530), illegal possession of amphetamines (Health & Saf.Code, § 11910), and illegal possession of a hypodermic needle and a hypodermic syringe (Bus. & Prof.Code, § 4143). Searches without a warrant of defendant's cabin and automobile produced evidence which led to the convictions. The searches were concededly unconstitutional if defendant was, at the time, entitled to Fourth Amendment protection. 1 The question is whether defendant's status as an outpatient following his commitment as a narcotic addict to the California Rehabilitation Center made the searches without a warrant valid. We conclude that it did not.

The facts of the case are essentially undisputed. Defendant was committed on April 18, 1966, to the California Rehabilitation Center at Corona as a narcotic addict following a narcotics conviction but before he was arraigned for judgment. (Welf. & Inst.Code, § 3051.) He was released on August 28, 1967, as an outpatient pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 3151. 2 On July 17, 1969, defendant rented a cabin from Bernice Smith and moved in the next day. From that time until July 28,

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Mrs. Smith observed defendant and at least 35 or 40 persons going to and from defendant's cabin in a 'continuously (sic) stream.' Sometimes defendant would leave several of his visitors in the cabin while he went out. Mrs. Smith also observed people leaving the cabin carrying objects. She relayed her observations to the Humboldt County Sheriff.

On July 28, 1969, sheriff's deputies communicated with Elmer Cox, the parole officer assigned to supervise defendant as an outpatient (see Welf. & Inst.Code, § 3151), and advised him that defendant was suspected of dealing in narcotics. 3 Cox, together with sheriff's deputies, went to defendant's cabin to talk to him and to search his cabin in order to determine whether he was involved in narcotics activity. Defendant was not home. At Cox' request Mrs. Smith unlocked the door; the officers entered and proceeded to make a thorough search of the cabin. In the bedroom a deputy sheriff found marijuana, marijuana seeds, amphetamines, a homemade hypodermic syringe and needle, and Dexamyl tablets (containing both amphetamines and barbiturates).

While the search was in progress defendant drove up in an automobile with two other persons. Cox went outside and took defendant into custody. Thereafter defendant was removed to the interior of the cabin where he was placed under arrest for the aforementioned violations. A search of the automobile disclosed a marijuana cigarette in a tobacco pouch on the visor.

A motion to vacate and set aside the information on the ground that the evidence was illegally seized (Pen.Code, § 995) was denied.

The question of whether a person who has the status of an outpatient under the rehabilitation program is entitled to Fourth Amendment protections was considered in People v. Jasso (1969) 2 Cal.App.3d 955, 82 Cal.Rptr. 229. Jasso was an outpatient who had failed to report for narcotics testing and who had changed his residence without securing prior approval. A supervising agent received a call from a person who told him where Jasso lived. The agent, together with police officers, went to that location and took Jasso into custody outside his house. A search without a warrant of the interior of the house produced evidence which led to Jasso's conviction.

The court held that Jasso's status as an outpatient did not justify the search. It said: 'The parole agent . . . acted upon the theory that an outpatient's status was completely identical to that of a parolee. This is not true. While there are criminal aspects to narcotics addiction proceedings

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(People v. Moore (1968) 69 Cal.2d 674, 681--682, 72 Cal.Rptr. 800), a commitment under sections 3050 et seq. of the Welfare and Institutions Code is deemed nonpenal and civil in character. (In re De La O (1963) supra, 59 Cal.2d 128, 156, 28 Cal.Rptr. 489; In re Trummer (1964) 60 Cal.2d 658, 36 Cal.Rptr. 281.) A parolee is a sentenced felon and in law is deemed 'civilly dead' for certain purposes under section...

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