People v. Crawford

Decision Date09 February 1953
Docket NumberCr. 2376
Citation115 Cal.App.2d 838,252 P.2d 963
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
PartiesPEOPLE v. CRAWFORD et al.

Louis A. Boli, III, Sacramento, for appellants.

Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., Gail A. Strader, Dep. Atty. Gen., for respondent.

VAN DYKE, Presiding Justice.

Clyde J. Crawford and Wilbur Dell Crawford each appeals from the judgment of conviction of grand theft and from the order denying motion for new trial. The evidence stated in the light favorable to the prosecution may be summarized as follows: On January 23, 1952 certain automobile dealers in Modesto had on their lot a new Oldsmobile coupe. It disappeared from the lot some time between 6:30 and 8 o'clock P.M., at which time the Modesto Police Department was notified that the car was missing. About one hour later two patrol officers who were cruising in the city observed an Oldsmobile answering the description of the missing car. Two men were in it. The officers followed the car some disstance to a point where it stopped at a traffic-lighted intersection. The intersection light was red. The officers stopped behind the Oldsmobile, turned on their own colored lights and one of them approached the driver's side of the Oldsmobile, whereupon that car started quickly and went through the intersection at high speed and against the red light. The officer called for it to stop and when it did not he fired three shots at it as it sped away. The officers then pursued the fleeing vehicle at speeds up to 90 miles an hour until, in attempting to make a turn, the car ran into a ditch, hit a tree and stopped. Thereupon the two occupants jumped out and ran and only stopped when the officers, with their guns out, commanded them to come back. These two men were the appellants herein. It was shown that no permission had been given them or anyone to take the automobile and that between 8:30 and 9 o'clock that same day the appellants had driven the car into a service station in Delhi where they purchased 16 gallons of gas for which appellant Clyde Crawford, giving his name as Jimmie Walker, left a wrist watch. At the trial Clyde Crawford did not take the stand, but his brother Wilbur did. Wilbur testified that while hitch-hiking from San Francisco to Fresno he had found the automobile unattended, and with the motor running, on the highway about six miles north of Modesto; that he had driven the car down to Keyes where he met his brother Clyde whom he told that a friend had let him have the car in order that he might break it in. He said he had no intent to steal the car.

Appellants first urge that the evidence was insufficient to support verdicts of guilty of grand theft. They urge that mere possession of stolen property is not sufficient to show the necessary criminal intent for a conviction of theft and that the evidence of the People, taken at full value, only shows the car was missing from the owner's place of business, that it was not taken with the owner's consent, and that appellants were observed in possession of it. It is apparent that the foregoing is far from a complete statement of the evidence and the permissible inferences to be drawn therefrom. The jury did not have to believe Wilbur Crawford's story, but could have inferred that the car was taken from the owner's lot by the appellants, that the quantity of gasoline purchased indicated an intent not to return the car to its owner but to use it for a considerable time and perhaps to drive a great distance. The jury did not need to adopt the suggested explanation of the appellants' reluctance to be arrested as having been generated by their fear of being fired on and on the contrary could have well concluded that their acts in fleeing across the intersection against the red light when they were commanded by the officers to stop and their behavior thereafter were solely referable to guilt. There was evidence that both were acting in concert in that the driver of the car sped it away when he heard the command of the officers to stop; that before that, the one not driving had been watching the officers' car as it followed them; and that he joined the driver in flight when the car was disabled. From all the foregoing the jury permissibly inferred felonious taking with intent to steal. People v. Wissenfeld, 36 Cal.2d 758-763, 227 P.2d 833.

Appellants claim the trial court committed error and invaded the province of the jury to the extent of a denial of a fair trial by virtue of certain incidents that occurred after the cause had been submitted to the jury. A considerable number of verdict forms had been given to the jury. The charge, being grand theft committed in the stealing of an automobile, included the offense of violation of Section 503 of the Vehicle Code. Recognizing that the conviction of one offense would amount to an acquittal of the other, People v. Kehoe, 33 Cal.2d 711, 204 P.2d 321, guilty and nonguilty verdicts as to each were included in the forms. The jury returned after announcing that it had completed its work and a number of verdicts were handed to the court as having been used in arriving at the jury's verdict as to each defendant. After examining the verdicts the court announced that there were two verdicts in conflict and two other necessary verdicts were lacking. The record does not show what the actual facts were to which the court was referring, that is, which verdicts were conflicting and which were lacking. The court explained to the jury, however, that conviction of grand theft would be acquittal of violation of Section 503, and vice versa, and that the verdicts should conform to that rule of law. The jury were told to go back and consider their verdicts again. They came in...

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16 cases
  • People v. Bonillas
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • May 1, 1989
    ...the jurors to reconsider it (citing § 1161), defendant could not complain of polling procedure he invited]; People v. Crawford (1953) 115 Cal.App.2d 838, 841-842, 252 P.2d 963 [guilt verdict on one offense required finding of not guilty of alternative offense; when jury returned verdicts in......
  • People v. Lemus
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • August 1, 1988
    ...the possible reasons the jury returned the verdicts it did, we agree with the observation of the court in iPeople v. Crawford (1953) 115 Cal.App.2d 838, 841-42, 252 Cal.Rptr. 963: "We think it useless to follow [him] through [his] highly-ingenious analysis, for error must be affirmatively s......
  • People v. Hernandez
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • January 14, 1985
    ...this section is with a trial court's initiation of jury reconsideration of their verdict on its own accord. (See People v. Crawford (1953) 115 Cal.App.2d 838, 842, 252 P.2d 963.) In the case before us, the reconsideration of the verdict was clearly initiated by the jury itself. Thus this is......
  • People v. Marshall
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • April 19, 1957
    ...intent to steal the same.' The cases of People v. Kehoe (1949), 33 Cal.2d 711, 713-715, 204 P.2d 321, and People v. Crawford (1953), 115 Cal.App.2d 838, 841, 252 P.2d 963, tend to support the view that the theft of an automobile (which is included in the offense of robbery by the taking of ......
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