People v. Green

Decision Date29 April 1965
Citation234 Cal.App.2d Supp. 871,44 Cal.Rptr. 438
Parties234 Cal.App.2d Supp. 871 PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Steven Michael GREEN, William Mays, Micheal La Monte Robinson, Caroline Perkins Sweezy, Charles Abraham Samuelson, John Howard Tavasti, Defendants and Appellants. C.A. 6153-6158. Appellate Department, Superior Court, Los Angeles County, California
CourtCalifornia Superior Court

Laurence R.Sperber, Los Angeles, Robert J. Schmorleitz, North Hollywood, Ross G. Brown, Beverly Hills, Hirsch Adell, Los Angeles, for appellants.

A.L. Wirin, Fred Okrand, Los Angeles, amicus curiae in support of appellants.

Robert G. Cockins, City Atty., Robert D. Ogle, Asst. City Atty., Marshall Barth, Deputy City Atty., for respondent.

HULS, Presiding Judge.

Defendants, in the above referred to six cases, appeal from the judgment against each of them for violation of Penal Code § 415, generally referred to as disturbing the peace.

The evidence supports each of the judgments and is briefly related here. The acts complained of occurred on a Friday afternoon in a branch of the Bank of America between the hours of 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. and especially from 5:00 to 6:00 P.M., a time when we may judicially notice the business of a bank is at its heaviest. Picketing by the defendants and others peacefully had taken place chiefly on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the bank and outside of the bank. The defendants thereafter entered the bank and at various tellers' windows interfered with, disturbed and delayed the business of the bank officials and that of its customers. Defendants' refusal to move aside to permit other customers to conduct their business at the bank at the windows continued for some time until the tellers closed the windows and transferred their work to an area reserved for business with officers of the bank behind a railed-in enclosure; there temporary teller's stations were set up and business was transacted by means of entrance of bank customers through a gate the area. One defendant, at least, entered or attempted to enter this area and claims to have been shoved outside and to the floor but the evidence indicates that he was not shoved but fell of his own accord. He then lay on the floor in such proximity to the gate as to obstruct the passageway of those rightly entitled to enter through it. One of the other defendants likewise spread-eagled himself supine on the floor in the immediate proximity of the gate. All of the defendants and others of their common group then joined in an armlocked circle in the public area of the bank, close to the said entrance gate, and sang "freedom" songs and refused to desist or leave that area after having been requested and instructed to do so.

The conduct of the defendants was intended to and did obstruct, interfere with and delay the normal business relations of the bank and its officials and those of the public who were there for the transaction of business. The evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of each of the defendants.

The public peace is disturbed when the acts complained of disturb the public peace or tranquility enjoyed by members of a community where good order reigns among its members or where acts are likely to produce violence or where acts cause consternation and alarm in the community. People v. Anderson (1931) 117 Cal.App.Supp. 763, 767, 768, 772, 1 P.2d 64. It is not necessary that any act have in itself any element of violence in order to constitute a breach of the peace.

Cox v. State of Louisiana (1965) 379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453, 13 L.Ed.2d 471, cited by appellants, is not in point for there the conduct and singing occurred in the street, not in a private business establishment. In Terminiello v. City of Chicago (1948) 337 U.S. 1l, 69 S.Ct. 894, 93 L.Ed. 1131, the United States Supreme Court did not determine on the facts of the case and therefore it is not in point. In Feiner v. People of State of New York (1950) 34 U.S. 315, 71 S.Ct. 303, 328, 95 L.Ed. 295, the disorderly conduct, so-called, occurred on a street corner and is therefore not in point. In Garner v. State of Louisiana (1961) 368 U.S. 157, 82 S.Ct. 248, 7 L.Ed.2d 207, the convictions were for disturbing the peace by participation in a lunch-counter sit-in. According to the Supreme Court, the record was devoid of any evidence to support a finding of disturbing the peace. The statute of Louisiana defining disturbing the peach, as it then stood, is very different from the California statute. 82 S.Ct. on page 254, 7 L.Ed.2d on page 216 of the Garner case the court said: "The catch-all provision under which the petitioners were tried and convicted follows an enumeration of six specific offenses, each of which describes overtly tumultuous or disruptive behavior. It would therefore normally be interpreted in the light of the preceding sections as an effort to cover other forms of violence or loud and boisterous conduct not already listed." Said subdivision (7), quoted 82 S.Ct. on p. 252, 7 L.Ed.2d on p. 214, reads "Commission of any other act in such a manner as to unreasonably disturb or alarm the public." The ejusdem generis interpretation of subdivision (7) completely emasculates it as far as any similarity it might have to our Penal Code § 415 is concerned. In the case at bench as above indicated, the record supports a finding of disturbing the peace. Other United States Supreme Court cases cited are clearly differentiable.

For the reason that the conduct here inveighed against by the statute occurred within a private...

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3 cases
  • Mandel v. Municipal Court for Oakland-Piedmont Judicial Dist., Alameda County
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 8, 1969
    ...651; In re Bacon (1966) 240 Cal.App.2d 34, 48--51, 49 Cal.Rptr. 322 (hearing in Supreme Court denied); and People v. Green (1965) 234 Cal.App.2d Supp. 871, 873--875, 44 Cal.Rptr. 438 (cert. den. (1965) 382 U.S. 993, 86 S.Ct. 576, 15 L.Ed.2d 480); and cf. In re Hoffman (1967) 67 Cal.2d 845, ......
  • Hoffman, In re
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 11, 1967
    ...236 Cal.App.2d Supp. 915, 47 Cal.Rptr. 662; People v. Poe (1965) 236 Cal.App.2d Supp. 928, 47 Cal.Rptr. 670; People v. Green (1965) 234 Cal.App.2d Supp. 871, 44 Cal.Rptr. 438. 6 ) Similarly, had petitioners' activities conflicted with any valid municipal interest, the municipality could hav......
  • People v. Cohen
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 22, 1969
    ...necessary that any act have in itself any element of violence in order to constitute a breach of the peace.' (People v. Green, 234 Cal.App.2d Supp. 871, 873, 44 Cal.Rptr. 438, 439.) We conclude from the foregoing authorities that if it can be reasonably anticipated that certain conduct will......

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