People v. Fields

Decision Date02 May 1996
Docket NumberNo. S044641,S044641
Citation52 Cal.Rptr.2d 282,914 P.2d 832,13 Cal.4th 289
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties, 914 P.2d 832, 64 USLW 2779, 96 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 3133, 96 Daily Journal D.A.R. 5135 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Paul Douglas FIELDS, Defendant and Appellant.

Peter A. Estern, under appointment by the Supreme Court, San Jose, for Defendant and Appellant.

Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, George Williamson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Carol Wendelin Pollack, Assistant

Attorney General, John R. Gorey, Robert Renner, Sanjay T. Kumar and Mitchell T. Keiter, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

LUCAS, Justice. *

We granted review to decide whether the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy, or any of the statutory provisions implementing its protection, bars defendant's retrial on a greater offense on which jurors failed to reach agreement when, in the same proceeding, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on a separately charged lesser included offense. In resolving this issue we are called upon to reconcile an apparent tension between two distinct and well-established double jeopardy doctrines: the "implied acquittal" doctrine, under which the jury's verdict of guilty on a lesser included offense constitutes an implicit acquittal of the greater offense barring its retrial, and the doctrine of "manifest necessity" or "legal necessity" justifying retrial following discharge of a deadlocked jury.

As we explain, when, as occurred here, the trial court determines that jurors are genuinely deadlocked on the greater offense, an acquittal on that charge will not be implied by the jury's verdict of guilty on the lesser included offense. Unlike the situation in which the jury is merely silent with regard to the greater offense, when the jurors have expressed an inability to agree on the greater offense, their verdict of guilty on the lesser included offense cannot support an implication that they intended to acquit the accused of the greater offense.

Although we find the doctrine of implied acquittal inapplicable to this case, the question remains whether defendant was properly retried on the greater offense following the jury's deadlock on that charge. Here, the jury in the first trial rendered a verdict of guilty on the lesser included offense. The verdict was received by the trial court and recorded, and the jury was discharged. As a result of the first trial, defendant thus stood convicted of the lesser included offense. Under Penal Code section 1023, 1 as construed in People v. Greer (1947) 30 Cal.2d 589, 596-597, 184 P.2d 512, when an accused is convicted of a lesser included offense, the conviction bars a subsequent prosecution for the greater offense. We conclude that the rule of Greer applies to the circumstances presented here, notwithstanding the jury's deadlock on the greater offense.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal reversing defendant's conviction on the greater offense is therefore affirmed, albeit for a different reason than that given by the court in its opinion. (See Davey v. Southern Pacific Co. (1897) 116 Cal. 325, 329, 48 P. 117.)

I.

While driving eastbound on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles at over 70 miles per hour, defendant ran a red light and struck a car driven by Daniel Hernandez, who was proceeding through the intersection. Hernandez died as a result of the collision. After the accident, defendant staggered and his speech was slurred. He was taken to the hospital where his blood-alcohol level registered .16 percent.

In an amended multicount information, defendant was charged with six offenses: Count I: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (§ 191.5, subd. (a)); count II: vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (§ 192, subd. (c)(3)); count III: gross vehicular manslaughter (§ 192, subd. (c)(1)); count IV: driving under the influence and causing bodily injury (Veh.Code, § 23153, subd. (a)); count V: driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or more and causing bodily injury (Veh.Code, § 23153, subd. (b)); and count VI: driving with a suspended license. (Veh.Code, § 14601, subd. (a).) The information further alleged defendant had suffered three prior convictions within the meaning of section 667.5, subdivision (b). Defendant pleaded not guilty to all charges, and a trial by jury commenced.

The jury began deliberating on November 10, 1992. On November 13, 1992, the jury sent a note to the court indicating it could not agree on counts I and III. After ordering that the jury return to the courtroom, the trial court asked the foreman whether the jury had reached verdicts on the other four counts. When the foreman replied that it had, the court asked for the signed verdict forms, and verdicts of guilty on counts II, IV, V, and VI were recorded.

After questioning the jurors regarding their deadlock, the trial court determined that further deliberations were warranted, and instructed the jury that it should continue to deliberate on counts I and III. Deliberations proceeded until November 17, 1992, at which time the court found that the jury was hopelessly deadlocked. With no objection from either party, the court declared a mistrial on counts I and III, and set a date for retrial on those charges. Judgment was entered against defendant on the remaining four counts and, after finding true the allegations of prior convictions, the court imposed a sentence totaling six years.

Defendant was rearraigned on an amended information charging counts I and III. Retrial on these offenses commenced on March 26, 1993, and following jury selection, the matter was transferred to a different judge. On its own motion, the trial court dismissed count III, gross vehicular manslaughter. The second jury returned a verdict of guilty on the remaining count, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Defendant was sentenced to the upper term of ten years for the conviction, plus one year for each of the three allegations of prior felony conviction found true by the trial court. The court further ordered that the sentence imposed by the first trial court be stayed, the stay to become permanent upon completion of the service of sentence on count I.

The Court of Appeal reversed the conviction for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on the ground that defendant's retrial on that offense was barred by double jeopardy. Dismissing that charge against defendant, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment entered on the convictions and findings in the first trial, and reinstated the original sentence. We granted the People's petition for review.

II.

The double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that no person shall " be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb," and is made applicable to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Benton v. Maryland (1969) 395 U.S. 784, 794, 89 S.Ct. 2056, 2062, 23 L.Ed.2d 707.)

Protection against double jeopardy is also embodied in article I, section 15 of the California Constitution, which declares that "[p]ersons may not twice be put in jeopardy for the same offense." As we reaffirmed in Raven v. Deukmejian (1990) 52 Cal.3d 336, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077, the California Constitution is a document of independent force and effect that may be interpreted in a manner more protective of defendants' rights than the federal Constitution, as construed by the United States Supreme Court. (Id. at pp. 352-355, 276 Cal.Rptr. 326, 801 P.2d 1077; see Cal. Const., art. I, § 24, cl. 1 ["Rights guaranteed by this Constitution are not dependent on those guaranteed by the United States Constitution."]; People v. Comingore (1977) 20 Cal.3d 142, 145, 141 Cal.Rptr. 542, 570 P.2d 723; Bunnell v. Superior Court (1975) 13 Cal.3d 592, 601, 119 Cal.Rptr. 302, 531 P.2d 1086; Curry v. Superior Court (1970) 2 Cal.3d 707, 716, 87 Cal.Rptr. 361, 470 P.2d 345 [reaffirming Cardenas v. Superior Court (1961) 56 Cal.2d 273, 14 Cal.Rptr. 657, 363 P.2d 889, in which federal rule permitting mistrial on court's own motion rejected in light of decisions interpreting state Constitution's double jeopardy clause].) Our inquiry here is thus guided by the decisions announcing the minimum standards of double jeopardy protection under the Fifth Amendment, as well as the decisions interpreting the California Constitution and the statutory provisions implementing those constitutional protections. (Stone v. Superior Court (1982) 31 Cal.3d 503, 509-510, 183 Cal.Rptr. 647, 646 P.2d 809 (hereafter Stone ).)

Under both the federal and state Constitutions, the double jeopardy clause "serves principally as a restraint on courts and prosecutors." (Brown v. Ohio (1977) 432 U.S. 161, 165, 97 S.Ct. 2221, 2225, 53 L.Ed.2d 187; see generally Sigler, Double Jeopardy (1969) pp. 155-187 [double jeopardy limits discretion of prosecutor to initiate and pursue prosecution of criminal suspects].) In a frequently quoted passage in Green v. United States (1957) 355 U.S. 184, 187-188, 78 S.Ct. 221, 223-224, 2 L.Ed.2d 199 (hereafter Green ), the Supreme Court articulated, in 20th-century terms, the purpose of the double jeopardy bar: "The underlying idea ... is that the State with all its resources and power should not be allowed to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense, thereby subjecting him to embarrassment, expense and ordeal and compelling him to live in a continuing state of anxiety and insecurity, as well as enhancing the possibility that even though innocent he may be found guilty." Decisions under the double jeopardy clause of the California Constitution likewise recognize the defendant's interest in avoiding both the stress of repeated prosecutions and the enhanced risk of erroneous conviction. (See, e.g., People v. Upshaw (1974) 13 Cal.3d 29, 34, ...

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