People v. Garner

Decision Date26 December 1961
Docket NumberCr. 6715
Citation18 Cal.Rptr. 40,57 Cal.2d 135,367 P.2d 680
Parties, 367 P.2d 680 PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Lawrence Christopher GARNER, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court

Gregory S. Stout, San Francisco, under appointment by Supreme Court, for defendant and appellant.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Jack E. Goertzen, Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

McCOMB, Justice.

This is an automatic appeal from a judgment of guilty of murder in the first degree on two counts after trial before a jury. The jury fixed the punishment at death.

Viewed in the light most favorable to the People, the record discloses the following facts:

On September 4, 1959, defendant, who subsequently on September 15, 1959, married his codefendant, Sandra Garner, attended a drunken party at Clifford Red's apartment in Inglewood, California. Included among the guests were Richard (Rick) Nowlen and Patricia (Pat) Hurley, with whom Clifford Red, Sandra, and defendant had participated in a robbery earlier that evening.

Defendant stayed with Rick and Pat at a motel after the party. He went back to Clifford Red's apartment about 11:30 a. m. on September 5, 1959, but then left for a while, returning about 5 p. m.

Pat and Rick then arrived at Clifford Red's apartment, and an argument developed over the division of the proceeds of the robbery.

Defendant and Sandra left the apartment about 6 p. m. and returned about 8:30 p. m. Defendant had taken Rick and Pat's .45 and .32 caliber weapons with him. He replaced the weapons when he and Sandra returned to the apartment.

Since the middle of August, Pat and Rick had been hiding out from the police. During most of the time they had stayed with Clifford Red and Sandra, but for a few days they stayed at the home of defendant's girl friend in San Bernardino. In each instance they had promised to pay a large sum of money for room and board, but had failed to do so.

Defendant had had an argument at the motel with Rick that morning, and Rick had threatended to involve defendant in some sort of an escapade or to involve his mother and his girl friend. Defendant then decided that there was no way out of his relationship with Rick except to kill him and Pat.

That afternoon, September 5, 1959, he talked Rick into agreeing to accompany him to Las Vegas with Pat and Sandra. When they left later that evening, defendant drove the car, Sandra was in the front seat, and Rick and Pat were in the back seat.

They drove in a desert area toward Las Vegas. En route, they stopped at Adelanto, in San Bernardino County. Defendant told Rick and Pat to go to sleep, and said he wanted to get acquainted with Sandra. After a while, defendant and Sandra got out of the car and walked around the area. They later took another walk so that defendant could look over the highway and traffic conditions. When they returned to the car, defendant remembered there were bottles in the back seat on the floorboard and decided on a plan to get possession of Rick and Pat's pistols.

After defendant coaxed him a while, Rick gave him a pistol fully loaded. Defendant then set up the bottles and commenced firing the weapon. He missed purposely, because he knew Rick was watching and would get out of the car to show him how to shoot. After emptying the pistol, defendant went back to the car and got another clip, and Rick followed him with the .32 caliber weapon in his possession.

Defendant continued firing the .45 caliber, and Rick fired the .32. Both men reloaded, and defendant fired two shots, breaking one bottle and nicking another. Defendant set up more bottles, and Rick was standing behind him. After placing the bottles, defendant walked toward Rick, brought up the weapon, and fired, shooting him in the stomach. Rick fell over backwards and dropped the weapon he had been holding. Defendant told Rick he was sorry but there was no other way. Rick pleaded with defendant, but defendant shot him through the top of the head.

Defendant then awakened Pat and told her there had been an accident and Rick had been hurt. When she ran over to Rick, defendant followed her and shot her in the back of the head.

A few days later defendant and Sandra fled to Mexico. The day after they reached Mexico the automobile in which they were driving was wrecked in an accident. Defendant reported the matter to the federal authorities and was subsequently called in for questioning. Later two officers from the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office, Inspector Oxnevad and Lt. Mathewson, flew to Mexico in an investigation of the murders. After these officers contacted the Obregon Police Department in Mexico, agents of the department arrested defendant, ostensibly for investigation regarding his identification documents and the automobile accident in which he had been involved.

During defendant's detention in Mexico, Inspector Oxnevad advised him that he was going to ask the Mexican authorities to hold him pending extradition and that he would call his office and ask for issuance of a warrant of arrest, at which time defendant stated, 'Well, I will go back with you freely and voluntarily, I don't want to lay around in any Mexican jails.'

The next day defendant and Sandra were escorted by the Mexican immigration officers across the border into Arizona. Inspector Oxnevad and Lt. Mathewson, who had previously been informed that defendant and Sandra were going to be put out of Mexico, were waiting for them there. They then placed the two under arrest and took them to a courthouse in Arizona. From there they were returned to California.

Defendant contends: First: That the trial court was without the power to try him for the alleged murders because of the imthod used by the arresting officers in bringing him to California.

This contention is devoid of mirit. It is immaterial whether there was a compliance with the Mexican extradition laws or Arizona laws on arrest and extradition. California follows the federal rule relative to the trial of a defendant who has been obtained from outside the jurisdiction of this state. The rule is that it is immaterial whether a defendant has been forcibly seized in another country or state and transferred to this state by violence, force, or fraud for trial for an offense alleged to have been committed in this state, there being no provision in the Constitution, laws or treaties of the United States which guarantees him any protection in such transaction. (Ker v. People of State of Illinois, 119 U.S. 436, 443, 7 S.Ct. 225, 30 L.Ed. 421 et seq.; Frisbie v. Collins, 342 U.S. 519, 522, 72 S.Ct. 509, 96 L.Ed. 541; In re Jones, 54 Cal.App. 423, 426, 201 P. 944; 35 C.J.S. (1960) Extradition § 47, p. 477 et seq.)

In Frisbie v. Collins, supra, the Supreme Court of the United States said, at page 522, 72 S.Ct. at page 511: 'This Court has never departed from the rule announced in Ker v. Illinois, 119 U.S. 436, 444, 7 S.Ct. 225, 229, 30 L.Ed. 421, that the power of a court to try a person for crime is not impaired by the fact that he had been brought within the court's jurisdiction by reason of a 'forcible abduction.' No persuasive reasons are now presented to justify overruling this line of cases. They rest on the sound basis that due process of law is satisfied when one present in court is convicted of crime after having been fairly apprized of the charges against him and after a fair trial in accordance with constitutional procedural safeguards. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires a court to permit a guilty person rightfully convicted to escape justice because he was brought to trial against his will.'

Second: That he was not promptly arraigned and that during the interval he made certain confessions which should not have been received in evidence.

This contention is devoid of merit. Defendant was arrested on Friday, September 18, 1959, in Arizona. He was arraigned in municipal court on Tuesday, September 22, 1959. Thereafter, on October 6, 1959, an indictment was returned against him, and he was arraigned thereunder on October 9, 1959, with court-appointed counsel representing him.

It is settled in this state that where, as in the instant case, a pretrial confession is voluntarily made, it is admissible in evidence so far as due process is concerned. (Rogers v. Superior Court, 46 Cal.2d 3, 9 (9), 291 P.2d 929 et seq.) In Rogers v. Superior Court, supra, the defendant had not been taken before a magistrate until eight days after his arrest, well beyond the 48-hour statutory maximum; but his voluntarily made pretrial confession was nevertheless held properly received.

The record here discloses that each confession given by defendant was freely and voluntarily given, without threats or promises by law enforcement officers. Therefore, they were properly received in evidence by the trial court.

Third: That there was a failure upon the part of the prosecution to comply with certain of the pretrial discovery orders.

This contention is also devoid of merit. Defendant argues that a handwritten confession given by him on October 5, 1959, and a tape-recorded joint confession given by him and his codefendant, Sandra, on October 6, 1959, 'burst upon defense counsel as a complete and utter surprise.' 1

Defendant's trial counsel was entitled to inspect, view, hear, or copy any and all statements of defendant, and such was the order of the trial judge in discovery proceedings had before the trial.

This right extended to the joint confession given by defendant and his codefendant. (Cash v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.2d 72, 75(1), 346 P.2d 407 et seq.; cf. Vance v. Superior Court, 51 Cal.2d 92, 93(1), 330 P.2d 773.) Any inference to the contrary in Schindler v. Superior Court, 161 Cal.App.2d 513, 327 P.2d 68 is disapproved.

The district attorney, however, was not required to seek out defendant's trial counsel and present the...

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  • People v. Sigal
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • October 30, 1963
    ...circumstance in determining whether, under the facts of a particular case, a confession is involuntary. (People v. Garner, 57 Cal.2d 135, 149, 18 Cal.Rptr. 40, 367 P.2d 680.) That Sigal demanded legal counsel, that he was denied access to counsel, that he was jailed incommunicado for 60 hou......
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    ...joint trial, one defendant is entitled to the statements made to the police by any codefendant. (See generally People v. Garner, 57 Cal.2d 135, 142, 18 Cal.Rptr. 40, 367 P.2d 680; Funk v. Superior Court, 52 Cal.2d 423, 424, 340 P.2d 593.) Without such information, a defendant, such as Arand......
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