People v. Charles

Citation57 Cal.Rptr. 745,66 Cal.2d 330,425 P.2d 545
Decision Date04 April 1967
Docket NumberCr. 9657
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Parties, 425 P.2d 545 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. John CHARLES, Jr., and Oliver Martin Boddie, Defendants and Appellants. In Bank

Bertram H. Ross, Los Angeles, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for defendants and appellants.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., C. Anthony Collins and Walter R. Jones, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

TOBRINER, Justice.

In People v. Arana (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518, 47 Cal.Rptr. 353, 407 P.2d 265, we established rules governing the conduct of joint trials in which one defendant's extrajudicial statement implicates a codefendant. We hold in the instant case that those rules are available to defendants whose judgments of conviction are still on appeal even though they were tried before the date of the Aranda decision, November 12, 1965.

The trial in this case began on May 28, 1964. On June 26, 1964, after finding both defendants guilty of armed robbery (Pen.Code, §§ 211, 211a), the trial court entered the judgments of conviction which defendants challenge in this appeal. These judgments were pending on direct review when we filed our decision in Aranda, and were not yet final on June 13, 1966, when the United States Supreme Court decided Miranda v. State of Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694.

Under People v. Rollins (1967) 65 A.C. 731, 56 Cal.Rptr. 293, 423 P.2d 221, the present case is governed by the principles set forth in Escobedo v. State of Illinois (1964) 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977, and People v. Dorado (1965) 62 Cal.2d 338, 42 Cal.Rptr. 169, 398 P.2d 361, but not by the additional rules enunciated in Miranda; under the holding we announce here, the case before us is also governed by the guidelines elaborated in Aranda. Applying Escobedo, Dorado, and Aranda, but not Miranda, we have concluded that the conviction of defendant Charles was proper but that the conviction of defendant Boddie cannot stand. 1


An information charged the defendants jointly with the robbery of a liquor store in the south end of Los Angeles on January 19, 1964, and with three additional counts of armed robbery, subsequently dismissed in the interest of justice. The information further alleged that defendant Charles had sustained three, and defendant Boddie two, prior felony convictions. Defendants waived trial by jury and submitted the case to the court upon the transcript of the preliminary examination. The court found that both defendants were guilty as charged, that only defendant Charles was armed, and that each defendant had suffered two prior felony convictions.

The transcript contained the testimony of the proprietor of the liquor store, identifying the defendants as the men who had robbed him, and the testimony of Officer Deiro of the Los Angeles Police Department, stating that both defendants had confessed during questioning at the police administration building in Los Angeles. According to Officer Deiro, each defendant supplied a detailed account of what he and his codefendant had done on all four of the robberies charged.

On its face, the record before us discloses a violation of the joint trial rules set forth in People v. Aranda, supra, 63 Cal.2d at pages 530--531, 47 Cal.Rptr. 353, 407 P.2d 265. Each confession implicated both defendants; accordingly, if Aranda applies, the trial judge should have determined whether all parts of each confession implicating the nondeclarant could be effectively deleted without prejudice to the declarant; if such deletions proved infeasible, he should have severed the trials or excluded the confessions. Initially, therefore, we must decide whether the Aranda rules govern appeals in cases which, like the one before us, reached trial before the date of Aranda.


The rules outlined in Aranda were designed to alter a practice which we deemed unfair to defendants who were implicated by the out-of-court declarations of their codefendants. We recognized that the prevailing practice rested upon the unrealistic hypothesis that the finder of fact could consider such declarations in determining the guilt or innocence of the declarant but ignore them in deciding the guilt or innocence of a codefendant. Out ruling, however, did not stem from a belief that the former procedure created a grave risk of convicting innocent defendants, and we were careful to point out that the rules announced were at least not yet constitutionally compelled. (People v. Aranda, supra, 63 Cal.2d at p. 530, 47 Cal.Rptr. 353, 407 P.2d 265.) The purposes of Aranda thus do not require its application to convictions long since final. (Cf. People v. Rollins, supra, 65 A.C. 731, 735, 56 Cal.Rptr. 293, 423 P.2d 221; In re Lopez (1965) 62 Cal.2d 368, 376--378, 42 Cal.Rptr. 188, 398 P.2d 380.)

Moreover, as we said in rejecting retroactivity for Escobedo, 'Unlimited retroactive application * * * would result in the reconsideration of countless cases that were correctly decided under the law (then) in force * * *; in many of such cases witnesses and evidence would no longer be available. * * * To require a general release of prisoners of undoubted guilt would be to cripple the orderly administration of the criminal laws.' (In re Lopez, supra, 62 Cal.2d at p. 381, 42 Cal.Rptr. 188, 198, 398 P.2d 380, 390; see also In re Gaines (1965) 63 Cal.2d 234, 237--240, 45 Cal.Rptr. 865, 404, P.2d 473.)

Although we therefore conclude that violations of the procedural requirements set forth in Aranda may not be challenged on collateral attack, we nonetheless hold that cases still pending on direct review should be adjudicated in accord with the principles which Aranda established. In reaching this conclusion, we adhere to the settled practice both of this court and of the United States Supreme Court.

The historic pattern of applying the court's current expression of a basic principle to cases pending on appeal finds numerous classic illustrations. Thus, for example, we applied the exclusionary rule of People v. Cahan (1955) 44 Cal.2d 434, 282 P.2d 905, 50 A.L.R.2d 513, to a case 'tried before the decision in People v. Cahan * * * at a time when the trial court was bound by the earlier decisions of this court that illegally obtained evidence was admissible' (People v. Kitchens (1956) 46 Cal.2d 260, 262, 294 P.2d 17, 19); yet we have held that a defendant may not collaterally attack a final judgment upon Cahan grounds. 2 Similarly, having held in People v. Riser (1956) 47 Cal.2d 566, 586, 305 P.2d 1, that the defendant in a criminal case can compel production of material evidence in the possession of the prosecution, we applied the rule of discovery thus established to a case pending on appeal on the date Riser was decided. (People v. Carter (1957) 48 Cal.2d 737, 752--753, 759, 312 P.2d 665.)

The United States Supreme Court adopted a similar approach in Linkletter v. Walker (1965) 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601 when it decided that Mapp v. Ohio (1961) 367 U.S. 643, 81 S.Ct. 1684, 6 L.Ed.2d 1081 should be denied general retroactive operation but held Mapp nonetheless applicable to all cases which had not reached final judgment prior to the date of the Mapp decision. Again, in Tehan v. United States ex rel. Shott (1966) 382 U.S. 406, 86 S.Ct. 459, 15 L.Ed.2d 453 the United States Supreme Court held that Griffin v. State of California (1965) 380 U.S. 609, 85 S.Ct. 1229, 14 L.Ed.2d 106, although unavailable to challenge previously final judgments, should nonetheless govern all cases pending on appeal when Griffin was decided. In the same vein, the court applied its ruling in Massiah v. United States (1964) 377 U.S. 201, 84 S.Ct. 1199, 12 L.Ed.2d 246, to cases pending on appeal on the date of the Massiah decision. (See, e.g., McLeod v. Ohio (1965) 381 U.S. 356, 85 S.Ct. 1556, 14 L.Ed.2d 682 (per curiam).)

Earlier this year, we reaffirmed the principle implicit in all of these decisions and concluded that convictions should ordinarily be tested on appeal under the law then applicable, not the law prevailing at the time of trial. (People v. Rollins, supra, 65 A.C. 731, 735--736 fn. 3, 738 & fn. 7, 741, 56 Cal.Rptr. 293, 423 P.2d 221.) We see no reason to depart today from this basic postulate of appellate review. 3

Those Courts of Appeal which have decided to limit the application of Aranda to Post-Aranda trials have done so partly because we described the principles there elaborated 'not as constitutionally compelled, but as judicially declared rules of practice to implement (Penal Code) section 1098' (People v. Aranda, supra, 63 Cal.2d at p. 530, 47 Cal.Rptr. 353, at p. 360, 407 P.2d 265, at p. 272), 4 and partly because the United States Supreme Court employed a trial-date limitation for Escobedo and Miranda in Johnson v. State of New Jersey (1966) 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882. 5 We find neither reason persuasive.

Our statement that the Aranda rules were not constitutionally compelled does not bear upon the applicability of those rules on appeal but only upon their automatic availability for collateral attack. Moreover, the fact that Aranda worked a change which might be characterized as 'procedural' furnishes no reason to limit that change to purely prospective operation. In this area of the law, as in others, 6 substance and procedure are so interwoven that their attempted segregation into clean-cut categories becomes meaningless; here, as elsewhere, the hoary dichotomy between the substantive and the procedural cannot serve as a talismanic solution to the retroactivity problem. We have previously decided pending cases under newly announced rules no less 'procedural' than those elaborated in Aranda; 7 we see no reason to treat the Aranda rules differently, whatever labels might be used to describe them.

Nor does the decision in Johnson v. State...

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