Lance W., In re

Decision Date01 February 1985
Docket NumberCr. 23551
Citation694 P.2d 744,210 Cal.Rptr. 631,37 Cal.3d 873
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties, 694 P.2d 744 In re LANCE W., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. LANCE W., Defendant and Appellant.

Wilbur F. Littlefield, Public Defender, Alan H. Simon, Norman Tanaka, Gary M Mandinach and Susan L. Burrell, Deputy Public Defenders, for defendant and appellant.

Frank O. Bell, Jr., State Public Defender, Allan H. Keown and George L. Schraer, Deputy Public Defenders, and James S. Thomson, Sacramento, amici curiae, for defendant and appellant.

John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Norman H. Sokolow, Cynthia Sonns Waldman and William R. Weisman, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

Robert H. Philibosian, Dist. Atty., Harry B. Sondheim and Richard W. Gerry, Deputy Dist. Attys., Los Angeles, and Christopher N. Heard, San Jose, amici curiae, for plaintiff and respondent.

GRODIN, Justice.

Proposition 8 on the June 1982 California primary election ballot added section 28, subdivision (d) (hereafter section 28(d)), to article I of the California Constitution. That section provides, inter alia: "Except as provided by statute hereafter enacted by a two thirds vote of the membership in each house of the Legislature, relevant evidence shall not be excluded in any criminal proceeding...."

This case requires that we determine the impact of this new constitutional provision upon prior decisions of California courts which mandate the exclusion of evidence obtained in violation of the search and seizure provisions of the federal Constitution (4th Amend.) or the state Constitution (art. I, § 13), under circumstances in which the evidence would be admissible under federal constitutional principles. Specifically, the question is whether a person charged with commission of a criminal offense may insist upon the exclusion of relevant evidence at trial on the ground that the evidence was seized in violation of article I, section 13, or was seized in violation of the right of another person to be free of unreasonable search and seizure under either constitutional provision. Under federal constitutional principles as currently enunciated by the United States Supreme Court such evidence would be admissible if the seizure did not violate the Fourth Amendment. However, under decisions of this court which recognize the independent and more exacting standards of article I, section 13 (People v. Brisendine (1975) 13 Cal.3d 528, 545, 119 Cal.Rptr. 315, 531 P.2d 1099), and accord standing to object to admission of evidence seized in violation of the rights of a third party (People v. Martin (1955) 45 Cal.2d 755, 290 P.2d 855, reaffirmed in Kaplan v. Superior Court (1971) 6 Cal.3d 150, 156, 98 Cal.Rptr. 649, 491 P.2d 1), the evidence would be excluded. The question to be decided is whether either our vicarious exclusionary rule or article I, section 13, survives Proposition 8 as a basis for exclusion of evidence.

The members of this court have diverse views regarding the importance and proper scope of the exclusionary rule as it has developed over the years. Faced with a constitutional amendment adopted by initiative, however, we are obliged to set aside our personal philosophies and to give effect to the expression of popular will, as best we can ascertain it, within the framework of overriding constitutional guarantees. Approaching Proposition 8 in that spirit, we conclude that Proposition 8 has abrogated both the "vicarious exclusionary rule" under which a defendant had standing to object to the introduction of evidence seized in violation of the rights of a third person, and a defendant's right to object to and suppress evidence seized in violation of the California, but not the federal, Constitution.


On November 2, 1982, plainclothed officers observed Lance W., who was then 16 years of age, approach several vehicles in a park in which drug sales were believed to be occurring. He appeared to transfer something between himself and the drivers of two of the vehicles. He removed something from his waistband and handed it to the occupant of a third vehicle, receiving something in exchange. When Lance approached the officers' vehicle, one officer asked him if he knew where to get some "smoke." Lance, who appeared to be nervous, replied "no," and then walked to a pickup truck where he dropped a plastic baggie into the open window on the driver's side.

The two officers walked to the truck, opened the door, and removed the baggie which was found to contain marijuana. The truck was occupied by two persons, neither of whom gave permission to open the door of the truck or to remove the baggie. Lance was arrested. A search of his person revealed a second baggie of marijuana and $35. Lance stated, referring to the persons in the truck: "They've got marijuana, too," and "Hey, I'm just trying to make a living. I've been kicked out of the house. I'm living on my own."

A petition was filed in the juvenile court alleging that Lance was a person coming within Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 1 in that he had violated Health and Safety Code section 11359, possession of marijuana for sale. It was further alleged that previous juvenile court dispositions had been ineffective in rehabilitating Lance within the meaning of sections 777 and 726. At the hearing on appellant's motion to suppress the physical evidence and his statements as products of a warrantless search undertaken without probable cause, the trial court, relying on Remers v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 659, 87 Cal.Rptr. 202, 470 P.2d 11, concluded that the officers' observations of the exchange of baggies between Lance and the occupants of the vehicles did not establish probable cause for a search of the pickup truck, or for an arrest and search of Lance. Therefore, the court reasoned, suppression of the evidence was required unless section 28(d) abrogated the rule under which Lance had standing to object to the unlawful search of the pickup truck. Concluding that section 28(d) eliminated any independent state ground for suppression of the evidence, and that Lance lacked standing to object to a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of the occupants of the pickup truck, the court denied the motion to suppress.

Lance then submitted the matter on the evidence received at the hearing on the suppression motion with additional testimony, stipulating that the content of the baggie was marijuana. The court sustained the allegations of the petition, found that prior dispositions had been ineffective, and ruled that the maximum confinement time for the violation would be three years.

Prior to the disposition hearing, Lance admitted the allegations of a second petition which alleged that he had violated Penal Code section 242, by committing battery, a misdemeanor. At the disposition hearing for both petitions, held on April 8, 1983, the court ordered that Lance continue as a ward of the court. Custody was removed from his parents and given to the probation officer with an order for placement in a camp-community placement program. Maximum confinement time was fixed at three years and two months, with credit for thirty-one days of predisposition confinement. In addition, concurrent "terms" of three years were ordered reflecting the statutory confinement time authorized for offenses Lance had been found to have committed after hearings on two prior sustained petitions. Finally the court ordered that upon release from camp placement, Lance be confined in juvenile hall for 30 days, but suspended service of that time on condition that he obey all orders of the probation officer.

Appellant contends that the court erred: (1) in concluding that section 28(d) abrogated the vicarious exclusionary rule established in People v. Martin, supra, 45 Cal.2d 755, 290 P.2d 855, and applied to both Fourth Amendment and article I, section 13 violations; and (2) in imposing the suspended 30 days of juvenile hall confinement time, an order made pursuant to the authority of In re Ricardo M. (1975) 52 Cal.App.3d 744, 125 Cal.Rptr. 291.


"Standing" to Seek Suppression Of Unlawfully Seized Evidence

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 13, of the California Constitution extend similar protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures." The federal exclusionary rule, pursuant to which both federal and state courts must exclude evidence seized in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, although once described as an essential part of the constitutional guarantee (Mapp v. Ohio (1961) 367 U.S. 643, 657, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 1692, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081), has more recently been described by the United States Supreme Court as " 'a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard Fourth Amendment rights generally through its deterrent effect, rather than a personal constitutional right of the person aggrieved.' " (United States v. Leon (1984) --- U.S. ----, ----, 104 S.Ct. 3405, 3412, 82 L.Ed.2d 677 quoting United States v. Calandra (1974) 414 U.S. 338, 348, 94 S.Ct. 613, 620, 38 L.Ed.2d 561.) Therefore, although state application of the exclusionary rule in criminal trials is essential to ensure that the guarantee of the Fourth Amendment is not an empty promise (Mapp v. Ohio, supra, 367 U.S. 643, 660, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 1694, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081), the circumstances to which the federal exclusionary rule must be applied as a sanction in order to deter future unlawful conduct by police or other state agents are defined by the United States Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has held that the deterrent purpose of the exclusionary rule does not require its application when unlawfully seized evidence is offered against a defendant whose own rights have not been compromised by the unlawful seizure. "Despite its broad deterrent purpose, the exclusionary...

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