People v. Anderson

Decision Date04 August 2011
Docket NumberKern Sup. Ct. No. BF128396A,F059205
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesTHE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. BRUCE LEE ANDERSON, Defendant and Appellant.


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.


APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Kern County. Gary T. Friedman, Judge.

Johanna R. Pirko, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and Kamala D. Harris, Attorneys General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Michael P. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, Kathleen A. McKenna, Leslie W. Westmoreland, and Sarah Jacobs, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


Appellant/defendant Bruce Lee Anderson was charged and convicted of count I, possession of methamphetamine for sale (Health & Saf. Code, § 11378) and count II, possession of methamphetamine (Health & Saf. Code, § 11377, subd. (a)).

The methamphetamine was discovered when Kern County Sheriff's Deputy Shotwell arrived at a residential property where a probationer lived. A trailer was parked next to the probationer's house, and Shotwell located defendant and three other people in the trailer; the probationer was not present. Shotwell served a valid arrest warrant on defendant, placed him in handcuffs, and escorted defendant and the other three people out of the trailer. Defendant was not advised of the warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436 (Miranda). Defendant had $580 in his pocket. Shotwell then reentered the trailer and conducted a warrantless search. Shotwell found large quantities of methamphetamine, some of which was packaged for sale. He also found a bag of cutting agent, syringes, and scales. Shotwell returned outside, displayed the bags of methamphetamine to defendant and the other three people, and asked the group who the drugs belonged to. No one responded. Shotwell added that he would have to arrest everyone if no one claimed the drugs. Defendant said he would claim the drugs since he was staying in the trailer. Shotwell then advised defendant of the Miranda warnings, told defendant that he found evidence of sales in the trailer, and again asked if the drugs belonged to him. Defendant again said, "yes."

Defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress evidence (Pen. Code,1 § 1538.5) and argued the warrantless search of the trailer violated his constitutional rights. The court conducted a pretrial evidentiary hearing, denied the motion, and found the other three people in the trailer were on probation and the contraband would have inevitably been discovered.

Defendant then filed a separate motion to exclude his confession that the drugs belonged to him and argued his statements were involuntary, elicited during an illegal custodian interrogation in the absence of the Miranda advisements, and the result of coercive questioning. The court conducted a pretrial evidentiary hearing (Evid. Code, § 402) and denied the motion. The court found that while defendant should have initially been advised of the Miranda warnings, the deputy's pre-Miranda questions and statements were not coercive or threatening, and defendant's post-Miranda confession was voluntary and admissible pursuant to Oregon v. Elstad (1985) 470 U.S. 298 (Elstad).)2

Thereafter, defendant's jury trial was held, and Shotwell testified about additional facts regarding both the search and interrogation. Defendant was convicted of both counts, and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

On appeal, defendant contends the court should have granted his motion to suppress the contraband seized from the trailer because the deputy did not have a search warrant, the search exceeded the limits of a search incident to an arrest, and the search was not valid based on the probation search conditions of the other three people. Defendant also argues the court should have granted his motion to exclude his confession because it was involuntary, the product of coercive interview techniques, and Shotwell engaged in the prohibited practice of questioning first and advising later, in violation of Missouri v. Seibert (2004) 542 U.S. 600 (Seibert).

As a separate matter, defendant contends his defense attorney was prejudicially ineffective when he conducted the separate pretrial evidentiary hearings on his motions to suppress the narcotics and exclude his confession. Defendant asserts there were facts developed throughout the entirety of the record—including the preliminary hearing, thetwo pretrial evidentiary hearings, and the jury trial—that defense counsel failed to elicit from Deputy Shotwell at the separate evidentiary hearings which would have supported his arguments that the trailer was illegally searched and his confession was involuntary.

Defendant also raises evidentiary and instructional issues, and contends the court should have granted his motion for return of the cash seized from him when he was arrested. We will reverse count II and otherwise affirm.


At the pretrial suppression hearing, the parties stipulated that a valid arrest warrant for defendant was issued on June 5, 2009, defendant was arrested and the trailer was searched on June 6, 2009, and defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the trailer. Deputy Shotwell was the only witness and testified that on June 6, 2009, he went to an address on Lake Isabella Boulevard in Kern County to conduct a probation search of Laura Lynn Reiss who lived on the property.3 Shotwell knew Reiss was on active probation and subject to a search condition for drugs and narcotics paraphernalia. Shotwell testified he also went to the property to attempt to locate defendant.4

Deputy Shotwell testified he had previously been to Reiss's property and knew there was a house and detached trailer there. He knew that Reiss lived in the house and not in the trailer. The trailer was not connected to the house, and it was about 25 feet away from the residence.

Shotwell testified he had never seen Reiss in the trailer. Shotwell also testified without contradiction that Reiss had previously told him, regarding the trailer, that "everything there is hers that she has control over."

Deputy Shotwell testified that when he arrived on the property, he saw a light on in the back of the trailer and also heard people laughing and talking from that location. Shotwell heard one voice in the trailer say the name "Bruce," which was defendant's first name. Shotwell heard another voice in the trailer respond, he recognized that voice as defendant from their prior encounters, and he was confident that defendant was in the trailer. He did not hear Reiss's voice inside the trailer.

Deputy Shotwell testified he approached the trailer and he said something like " 'Hey, you guys,' or something and they said 'Who is it' and then I knocked on the door and I heard [defendant] tell somebody to lock the door." Shotwell announced, " 'Sheriff's department,' " called out defendant's name, and said defendant had a felony warrant. Shotwell heard defendant's voice respond, " 'I don't have a warrant.' " Shotwell said to open the door but no one did.

Deputy Shotwell testified he opened the door and went inside the trailer. Defendant was inside the trailer with Shelly Reinhart, David Watkins and Wayne Sparks. Reiss was not present.

Shotwell arrested defendant inside the trailer on the felony arrest warrant. Shotwell searched defendant's body incident to that arrest and recovered cash. Deputy Shotwell testified that defendant was sitting on a bed when he entered the trailer. Shotwell saw a little pouch that was "right next" to defendant on the bed. The pouch was "[a]t the most," one foot away from defendant. Shotwell testified that a plastic bag was sticking out of the pouch, and he could see additional baggies inside that bag. He did notsee any contraband at that time. Shotwell seized the pouch and opened it, and found baggies of suspected methamphetamine.5

Shotwell testified his partner checked with dispatch and determined that the other occupants of the trailer—Reinhart, Watkins, and Sparks—were on probation and subject to search conditions for narcotics and paraphernalia.6 Shotwell testified that after he confirmed the existence of the search conditions, he searched the trailer for additional narcotics and paraphernalia, in the areas where the three probationers had been located in the trailer. Shotwell found additional methamphetamine, scales, pipes, and syringes in the "vicinity" of where Reinhart and Sparks had been. There was a jewelry box under the seat where Reinhart was sitting, and it contained two scales and syringes. Another scale was inside a drawer, next to the stove, near Sparks's location.

Shotwell testified that he later found Reiss in the house and determined she had been asleep when he searched the trailer.7

The court's ruling

Defendant sought to suppress the narcotics and contraband found in the trailer and argued the warrantless search was illegal. Defendant argued he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the trailer and all the contraband should be suppressed. Defendant's motion also sought to suppress his confession to Deputy Shotwell as the fruit of the illegal warrantless search.

The court noted that even if defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the trailer, the officers had the right to enter the property and arrest him pursuant to the valid arrest warrant, provided they complied with knock/notice requirements before entering the trailer. The court also noted the deputy could search defendant's person incident to that lawful...

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