People v. Clark

Citation63 Cal.2d 503,47 Cal.Rptr. 382,407 P.2d 294
Decision Date10 November 1965
Docket NumberCr. 8990
Parties, 407 P.2d 294 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Merl J. CLARK, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)

Page 382

47 Cal.Rptr. 382
63 Cal.2d 503, 407 P.2d 294
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
Merl J. CLARK, Defendant and Appellant.
Cr. 8990.
Supreme Court of California, In Bank.
Nov. 10, 1965.

[63 Cal.2d 504] Haskell J. Shapiro and Louis I. Bell, Los Angeles, for defendant and appellant.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., Doris H. Maier, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Ronald W. Tochterman, Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

McCOMB, Justice.

From a judgment after trial before the court without a jury, finding defendant guilty of violating section 288 of the Penal Code, he appeals.

Facts: The prosecutrix, Autumn Landers, the 11-year old stepdaughter of defendant, testified, in substance, that during the period November 15, 1962, through May 22 of the following year defendant on three separate dates took her into his bedroom and had sexual intercourse with her. Defendant denied having sexually molested her at any time.

Page 383

[407 P.2d 295] Question: Did the trial court err in restricting the scope of the cross-examination of the prosecutrix and the examination of defense witnesses called to impeach her?

Yes. These rules are here applicable:

(1) In this type of case the broadest latitude in cross-examination and production of rebuttal evidence is required. (People v. Scholl, 225 Cal.App.2d 558, 562-563 (8a, 9), 37 Cal.Rptr. 475 (hearing denied by the Supreme Court).)

[63 Cal.2d 505] (2) Although generally the character of a witness may not be attacked by evidence of specific wrongful acts (CODE CIV.PROC. S 2051 )1, this rule is not controlling where the inquiry goes beyond character and involves a basic fact in issue. Accordingly, evidence contradicting the testimony of a witness, even if it consists of proof of other wrongful acts, is proper if it is relevant to an issue in the case. 2 (People v. Westek, 31 Cal.2d 469, 480(8), 190 P.2d 9; People v. Hurlburt, 166 Cal.App.2d 334, 339 (3), 333 P.2d 82, 75 A.L.R.2d 500 (hearing denied by the Supreme Court).)

The prosecutrix testified that defendant had sexual intercourse with her on three separate occasions. Although she was examined by a physician, no medical testimony was offered to corroborate her statements.

She testified, among other things, that she had never before seen the private parts of any boy or man and that she had never had sexual experiences before or gone into bedrooms with boys.

The defense maintained that the charges were fantasy or fabrications on the part of the prosecutrix and that she was not talling the truth, and offered to prove that she had engaged in sexual experience short of intercourse with at least four boys and had a propensity to fabricate stories about sexual molestations.

The boys were not permitted to testify with respect to...

To continue reading

Request your trial
13 cases
  • People v. Schwartzman
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • March 6, 1969
    ...(3 Wigmore, Evidence (3d ed.), §§ 1003, 1004, 1021; CPLR 4513; State v. Gilmore, 42 Wash.2d 624, 257 P.2d 215 (1953); People v. Clark, 63 Cal.2d 503, 505, 47 Cal.Rptr. 382, 407 P.2d 294; Hanover Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 397 S.W.2d 904 (Tex.Civ.App.1965); Commonwealth v. Heller, 369 Pa. 457, 463......
  • People v. Knox, Cr. 17858
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 2, 1979
    ...even if it consists of proof of other wrongful acts, is proper if it is relevant to an issue in the case." (People v. Clark (1965) 63 Cal.2d 503, 505, 47 Cal.Rptr. Page 247 382, 383, 407 P.2d 294, 295.) Testimony regarding this specific act of conduct which appellant wished to elicit from C......
  • State v. Moton, 20806
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • January 20, 1988
    ...the possibility of confabulation or fabrication much more probable than if such knowledge or experience did not exist. People v. Clark, 63 Cal.2d 503, 504-506, 47 Cal.Rptr. 382, 383, 407 P.2d 294, 295 (1965). See also People v. Francis, 5 Cal.App.3d 414, 416, 85 Cal.Rptr. 61, 62 (1970); Peo......
  • People v. Stockman, Cr. 8417
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • November 10, 1965 held to have made the improperly admitted evidence nonprejudicial. (Fahy v. State of Connecticut (1963) 375 U.S. 85, 91, 84 S.Ct. 229, [63 Cal.2d 503] 11 L.Ed.2d 171; People v. Dixon, 46 Cal.2d 456, 458, 296 P.2d 557; People v. Davis, 62 Cal.2d 791, 796, 44 Cal.Rptr. 454, 402 P.2d 142; P......
  • 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