People v. Hall

Citation28 Cal.Rptr. 164,212 Cal.App.2d 480
Decision Date29 January 1963
Docket NumberCr. 8352
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Arthur HALL, Defendant and Appellant.
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals

Cary G. Branch, Los Angeles, for defendant and appellant, by appointment of the District Court of Appeal.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., Robert H. O'Brien Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

BISHOP, Justice pro tem.*

Charged in an information with the murder of one Adell Reed and with the prior conviction of two felonies, defendant was found guilty of manslaughter and admitted the conviction of the prior offenses charged. His motion for a new trial was denied and he was sentenced to state prison for the term prescribed by law. We have concluded that none of the contentions made on his behalf on appeal from the judgment is well taken and are affirming it.

We do not have a difficult problem on this appeal. Beyond any doubt Adell Reed died as the result of a number of severe knife cuts and beyond any doubt they were inflicted by defendant. The principle is therefore applicable which is expressed in People v. Todd (1957), 154 Cal.App.2d 601, 607, 317 P.2d 40, 44: 'The effect of sections 187-189 and Penal Code, section 1105, construed together, is that every killing is murder unless the defendant proves the contrary. People v. Wells, 10 Cal.2d 610, 76 P.2d 493.' The statement just quoted is supported in the case that it cites, but with an amplification: the burden on the defendant is that of 'raising a reasonable doubt as to his being guilty of murder as distinguished from manslaughter or justifiable homicide,' (10 Cal.2d 610, 623, 76 P.2d 493, 501), and defendant may take advantage of any evidence in the case as well as that which he produces.

The case was tried before a jury which found him guilty, not of murder, but of manslaughter. On this appeal it is contended the evidence is insufficient to prove manslaughter because it establishes a justifiable homicide in that it was committed in self defense. We find, however, that the jury--whose responsibility it was to pass upon the credibility of witnesses and to weigh the evidence--had ample reason to view with skepticism the claim of self defense. In spite of the tale of repeated threats made by the victim Adell Reed that he would cut out defendant's stomach and would kill him, Mrs. Reed and defendant, who had been living together for some two to three months as husband and wife, received Mr. Reed as a caller about midnight before the day of the homicide, shared some beer with him; then Mrs. Reed left the two together for an hour or so. She returned and got in a row with Mr. Reed who cut her. Defendant left to call the police. By the time he returned, Reed had gone taking with him some money the defendant had given Mrs. Reed. Defendant went away ostensibly to buy some 'barbecue.' Somebody hailed him, according to his story on the witness stand, as he was driving; he did not know who it was but stopped and backed up. Reed approached close to the driver's side of the car. Defendant got out the other side not seeing that Reed had a knife until Reed took a swing at him. They struggled, defendant tried to grab the hand that held the knife and in so doing knocked it out of Reed's hand. Defendant recovered the knife and, in evading Reed's attempt to throw his coat over defendant's head, inflicted the wounds which caused Reed's death.

Weighing the testimony just sketched the jury may well have said: It was not in self defense that defendant, a six foot, one hundred eighty pound boxer, armed with a knife, killed Reed, a five foot six man, weighing one hundred fifty pounds, who at the time of the actual killing had been disarmed of his knife and was then armed only with his coat. Certainly we cannot say, as a matter of law, self defense was proved or that the jury should at least have been doubtful but that it was.

Another of defendant's contentions is that the court erred in the order striking this answer made by defendant when he was testifying about his meeting with Reed in the early hours of the morning: 'Well, we discussed this money, and then these threats came up again, and that was when I got out from the car, because I--it looked as if he wanted to come in the car, and the window was down.' The order was...

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9 cases
  • People v. Ray
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • July 27, 1967
    ...'malicious and an act of murder.' (People v. Craig (1957) supra, 49 Cal.2d 313, 319, 316 P.2d 947; see also People v. Hall (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 480, 482 (28 Cal.Rptr. 164), and cases cited.)' (Jackson v. Superior Court (1965) 62 Cal.2d 521, 525--526, 42 Cal.Rptr. 838, 841, 399 P.2d 374, 37......
  • People v. Clark
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • March 31, 1982
    ...the trier of fact to resolve. (See People v. Davis (1965) 63 Cal.2d 648, 655, 47 Cal.Rptr. 801, 408 P.2d 129; People v. Hall (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 480, 483, 28 Cal.Rptr. 164; People v. Davis (1962) 203 Cal.App.2d 18, 20, 21 Cal.Rptr. 155.) Such is not invariably the case, however. "As an ab......
  • People v. Brunk
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • January 31, 1968
    ...of proving circumstances and mitigation is on the appellant. (People v. Wells, supra, (at p. 617), 76 P.2d 493; People v. Hall, 212 Cal.App.2d 480, 482, 28 Cal.Rptr. 164.) In addition, an assault with a dangerous weapon made in a manner to endanger life and resulting in death is sufficient ......
  • Jackson v. Superior Court of City and County of San Francisco
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • March 1, 1965
    ...'malicious and an act of murder.' (People v. Craig (1957) supra, 49 Cal.2d 313, 319, 316 P.2d 947, 951; see also People v. Hall (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 480, 482, 28 Cal.Rptr. 164, and cases It follows that to require the prosecution, as petitioner urges, to present specific proof of 'malice a......
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