People v. Bandhauer, Cr. 10425

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation426 P.2d 900,58 Cal.Rptr. 332,66 Cal.2d 524
Decision Date27 April 1967
Docket NumberCr. 10425
Parties, 426 P.2d 900 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. William BANDHAUER, Defendant and Appellant. In Bank

Page 332

58 Cal.Rptr. 332
66 Cal.2d 524, 426 P.2d 900
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
William BANDHAUER, Defendant and Appellant.
Cr. 10425.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
April 27, 1967.
Rehearing Denied May 24, 1967.

Page 334

[426 P.2d 902] [66 Cal.2d 526] Herbert E. Selwyn, Los Angeles, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for defendant and appellant.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., and S. Clark Moore, Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

TRAYNOR, Chief Justice.

A jury convicted defendant William Bandhauer of first degree murder of Walter Ashley Smith and fixed the penalty at death. This appeal is automatic. (Pen.Code, § 1239, subd. (b).)

Defendant met Smith at Thelma's Tavern in Riverside at approximately 8 p.m. on February 25, 1966. He introduced himself as Mike to Smith's friend, Gerald Allen Thomas, and drank beer with Smith and played pool with him. The three men left Thelma's Tavern in a blue Ford [66 Cal.2d 527] station wagon driven by defendant. Smith was drunk and was refused drinks at a few bars. Defendant did not appear intoxicated although he was seen drinking beer. When the last bar was closing at 2 a.m., Thomas found that defendant and Smith had left without him while he was playing pool. He had last seen them together at 1:20 a.m.

Defendant was next seen at 4:30 a.m. on the 26th when he rented a room at the Wagon Wheel Motel. He arrived without a car and told the manager that his car had broken down on the freeway. He did not appear drunk, although he looked tired and dirty. He gave a fictitious name and left at 9:30 a.m.

An engineer on a passing train saw Smith's body on the railroad right-of-way near Myers Street in Arlington at 2 a.m. that morning. Police officers arrived about 2:30 a.m. and found that Smith had been shot six times. They found a .22 caliber shell casing near the body and footprints around it and in the vicinity. There was no money in Smith's wallet, although he had approximately $75 in cash the previous morning. A few streets away the officers found a blue Ford station wagon abandoned in a ditch, and in the station wagon they found expended and live shells and a license plate. They removed fingerprints from the car and placed them on cards.

About 11:45 a.m. on February 26, 1966, a police officer, who had been given a description of defendant as a murder suspect, saw him on the street. He stopped defendant and asked if he had any identification. Defendant produced a receipt for rent paid by Paul L. Moslands. The officer searched defendant and found a .22 caliber revolver and live ammunition and approximately $75 in cash. The officer told defendant that he was being arrested on suspicion of murder.

Defendant's footprints fit those near Smith's body, and his fingerprints were identical with those taken from the station wagon. The bullets that killed Smith were fired from the gun taken from defendant.

Police officers searched defendant's room at the Wagon Wheel Motel and found keys that fit the station wagon and also keys that fit a pickup truck owned by Smith.

Page 335

[426 P.2d 903] Defendant pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity but later withdrew the plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He did not offer any evidence at the trial on the issue of guilt but attempted to rebut by cross-examination and [66 Cal.2d 528] closing argument inferences drawn from the evidence by the prosecution.

Defendant contends that the trial court's refusal to give any instruction as to voluntary manslaughter was reversible error. There is no evidence that would support a manslaughter instruction based on the theory of homicide committed during the heat of passion or during a sudden quarrel. Defendant asserts, however, that there was evidence that he was sufficiently intoxicated to lack the malice necessary to constitute murder, and therefore he was entitled to a voluntary manslaughter instruction on the theory of diminished capacity. (See People v. Conley, 64 Cal.2d 310, 319, 49 Cal.Rptr. 815, 411 P.2d 911.)

The record does not support this contention. Although Smith was refused drinks during the evening because of his apparent intoxication, defendant was not. He was not seen to have had more than six or seven beers during the six hours he was at various bars between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., and he did not appear to be intoxicated. There is no evidence that his drinking had any substantial effect on him, or that he was so intoxicated that he did not or could not harbor malice. There is thus no substantial evidence of diminished capacity to support a voluntary manslaughter instruction on that theory.

Defendant claims that it was prejudicial error to admit evidence that he had stolen the station wagon and the license plates on it. He asserts that there was abundant evidence to connect him with the station wagon and that it was needlessly prejudicial to introduce evidence that he had stolen the car and its plates. Such proof, however, was relevant not only to connect defendant with the car, but as evidence of his plan, motive, and intent throughout the night of the crime. It tended to rebut any inference that he abandoned the car because he was intoxicated, and it supported the prosecution's theory of robbery murder by indicating a plan to use a stolen vehicle to commit robberies. Accordingly the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence. (See People v. McCaughan, 49 Cal.2d 409, 421, 317 P.2d 974; People v. Gonzales, 87 Cal.App.2d 867, 877, 198 P.2d 81.)

It is next contended that the trial court erred in allowing defendant to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity without making an independent determination that he could intelligently withdraw the plea. The trial court determined that the withdrawal of the plea was voluntary. (See People v. Wein, 50 Cal.2d 383, 408--409, 326 P.2d [66 Cal.2d 529] 457.) Defendant was fully advised of his rights before he withdrew the plea, and he indicated that he had discussed the matter with his counsel. Since defendant had a psychiatric examination arranged for by his counsel before the plea was withdrawn, the trial court could properly assume that defendant's decision, arrived at with advice of counsel, was intelligently and voluntarily made.

Defendant asserts that the district attorney was guilty of prejudicial misconduct in making statements to the jury that he believed in defendant's guilt and that he believed that defendant should be given the death penalty. Counsel may vigorously argue his case and is not limited to 'Chesterfieldian politeness' (Ballard v. United States (9th Cir. 1945) 152 F.2d 941, 943 (reversed on other grounds, 329 U.S. 187, 67 S.Ct. 261, 91 L.Ed. 181); People v. Nicolaus, 65 A.C. 905, 919, 56 Cal. 635, 423 P.2d 787; People v. Hardenbrook, 48 Cal.2d 345, 352--353, 309 P.2d 424), but he cannot overreach by stating his personal belief based on facts not in evidence. (People v. Love, 56 Cal.2d 720, 730, 16 Cal.Rptr. 777, 17 Cal.Rptr. 481, 366 P.2d 33, 809.) We find no violation of this rule at the trial on the issue of guilt.

At the trial on the issue of penalty, however, the prosecutor in the guise of

Page 336

[426 P.2d 904] argument presented facts not in evidence. From the outset of the trial, the prosecutor informed the jury that he was running for office and that as a public officer he bore a mantle of trust that required him to be fair. At the beginning of his argument on the issue of penalty he stated: '* * * as I told you right from the start--there is only one person in this courtroom that is required to see that the defendant gets a fair trial anymore than I am, and that is the judge.' The prosecutor pointed out to the jury why he had objected to the introduction of certain evidence, indicating that he thought that it might be damaging to defendant. Within a short time after he had laid this foundation of his public respondibility he told the jury: 'During the many many years that I have been prosecutor, I have seen some pretty depraved character (sic). Usually they are kind of old because it takes a little while to become this depraved. But it has seldom been my misfortune to see a more deprave (sic) character than this one.' Further along in his argument the prosecutor told the jury: '* * * I have stood before this court on occasions and recommended life imprisonment in first degree murder cases. * * *' The statement that defendant was one of the most depraved characters that the prosecutor[66 Cal.2d 530] had seen was testimonial. It was not...

To continue reading

Request your trial
108 cases
  • People v. Fields, Cr. 21126
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 29 Diciembre 1983
    ......Bandhauer (1967) 66 Cal.2d 524, 529, 58 Cal.Rptr. 332, 426 P.2d 900; see People v. Ross (1960) 178 Cal.App.2d 801, 808), 3 Cal.Rptr. 170, but the bounds of ......
  • Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 29 Mayo 1981
    ...... (People v. Sweeney, 55 Cal.2d 27, 39, 9 Cal.Rptr. 793, 357 P.2d 1049; Witkin, Cal. Evidence, § 1276, p. ...Bandhauer, 66 Cal.2d 524, 529, 58 Cal.Rptr. 332, 426 P.2d 900, cert. den. in Bandhauer v. California, 389 ......
  • People v. Rivers, Cr. 10411
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 7 Julio 1967
    ...but, as evinced by Rollins itself, we are not bound to a rigid formula when special problems exist. See People v. Bandhauer (1967), 66 A.C. 519, 525--526, 58 Cal.Rptr. 332, 426 P.2d 900, in which we adopted the Johnson technique by applying a rule relating to the order of argument only to c......
  • People v. Ghent
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 13 Agosto 1987
    ...either defendant's guilt or the appropriateness of the death penalty, based on facts not in evidence. (People v. Bandhauer (1967) 66 Cal.2d 524, 529, 58 Cal.Rptr. 332, 426 P.2d 900.) In Bandhauer, the prosecutor emphasized that during his many years of practice he had seen some "pretty depr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT