People v. Hayes, Cr. 8936

Citation96 Cal.Rptr. 879,19 Cal.App.3d 459
Decision Date23 August 1971
Docket NumberCr. 8936
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Monroe HAYES, Defendant and Appellant.

Dorothy P. Young, Novato, for defendant and appellant (by appointment of the Court of Appeal).

Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen., Robert R. Granucci, Eugene Kaster, Deputy Attys. Gen., San Francisco, for plaintiff and respondent.

MOLINARI, Presiding Justice.

Defendant appeals from a judgment of the court entered on a jury verdict finding him guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon in violation of Penal Code section 245. He contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the judgment of conviction; that he was denied a fair trial because the waiver of his Miranda rights was obtained while he was intoxicated; that the district attorney was guilty of prejudicial misconduct; that his trial counsel was incompetent; and that the punishment imposed by the court was excessive. We have concluded that none of the contentions are meritorious.

The Facts

On the evening of November 21, 1969, Michael Miller, a longshoreman, was conversing with defendant at Mike's Club in Eureka. Miller and defendant talked about something that had happened previously between defendant and another longshoreman. Defendant asked Miller if he 'wanted to fight about it,' and the two stood up. Miller saw a knife in defendant's right hand. Defendant began swinging the knife and, when Miller attempted to block a blow, his arm was slashed.

Mrs. Shirley Davis, who was sitting at the bar near defendant, saw a closed knife in defendant's hand. Defendant told her 'There is going to be trouble.' She moved to the other end of the bar and told the bartender, who then approached Miller and defendant and attempted to quiet them. The bartender then walked back to the other end of the bar and telephoned the police.

Paul Bressman, another longshoreman, looked up from his pool game and saw defendant swing at Miller. He walked over and told defendant to 'lay off the kid.' Defendant took a swing at Bressman. Bressman threw up his arm to block defendant's swing and was cut, although he did not immediately realize that he had been wounded. As defendant was attacking Bressman, Miller heard defendant say to Bressman, 'I am going to kill you.' Bressman backed away from defendant and the altercation moved all the way to the other end of the bar. Although Bressman was cut several times on the abdomen, he did not see a knife in defendant's possession. Bressman testified that he never swung at defendant.

After Miller backed away from defendant, he walked over to Pat O'Shea, a local salesman, and told him 'I have been cut on the hand.' O'Shea saw defendant swinging the knife back and forth and cutting Bressman.

James January, a laborer who had been shooting pool with Bressman, saw the knife in defendant's hand when Bressman told defendant to 'lay off' Miller. He saw defendant hit Bressman two or three times with the knife. He did not see Bressman take any swings at defendant. Finally, January was able to grab defendant and wrestled him to the floor.

Robert Stierna, a longshoreman, attempted to keep Miller and defendant apart. He saw defendant reach in his pocket and slide something down beside his hip. Defendant appeared to be opening a knife. Defendant's hand began to move in a circular fashion and Stierna backed up. When January knocked defendant to the floor, Stierna pried a black-handled knife from defendant's right hand. The blade of the knife was broken.

Police officers were dispatched to Mike's Club. Officer Ernest Rasmussen met Stierna in front of the club where Stierna gave him a knife. Rasmussen examined Miller's cut. When he observed Bressman he asked the bartender to call an ambulance, and then told him, 'Never mind, I can do it quicker by radio.' Defendant was placed under arrest by Officer Charles Taylor who asked Officer Thurman Fogarty to advise defendant of his rights. Fogarty went over to the patrol car where defendant was screaming 'Let me out of here, I'll kill the son-of-a-bitch.' Fogarty finally quieted him down and then read the Miranda warning to him.

While sitting in the patrol car, defendant yelled at Police Sergeant Gordon Busey, 'Busey, hey, Busey, come here.' Busey walked to the patrol car and defendant pointed to Miller and said, 'Let me out of here, I'll kill that guy.' A woman approached the car, and defendant said, 'Did you see me give it to him?' It took six of them.'

January, who helped to clean up the blood on the barroom floor, found the piece of blade that had been broken from defendant's knife.

Doctor Theodore A. Poska, who examined Miller and Bressman, described Miller's cut as an inside wound on the left wrist approximately three inches in length and one-half inch in depth. Bressman had a similar injury of the wrist, a four or five-inch wound in the left side of the neck and two cuts across the abdomen which were approximately 12 inches long and formed an 'X'. The abdominal wounds required about 20 sutures. The wounds appeared to have been made by a sharp instrument.

Defendant's girl friend testified that the argument between Miller and defendant began when Miller walked up to defendant and told defendant he couldn't 'talk to James January like that.' Then Bressman came over, laid his glasses on the bar, and the altercation started. She did not see defendant swing at Miller; nor did she see defendant with a knife. She also testified that she did not see any cuts on Miller or Bressman and did not see any blood.

January's girl friend testified that she was talking on the telephone when the altercation started. She saw Bressman and defendant scuffling and saw a couple of other people attempting to separate them. She did not see the knife but saw a blade afterward when she helped clean the floor.

Defendant testified that he had been talking with January about some money when Miller told him, 'You can't talk to James (January) that way.' Defendant said, 'I talk to James any way that I want to, he's a brother of mine.' Then Bressman came over and said, 'Lay off the kid.' Defendant said, 'I am not bothering him.' Bressman then took his suit coat and glasses off and said, 'You ready?' Defendant said he was, and they began fighting. While they were grappling, January grabbed defendant around the neck. Defendant never saw a knife. He did admit calling Busey to the patrol car and saying, 'I want to get out and finish this off right here.'

Sufficiency of the Evidence

Defendant's attack on the sufficiency of the evidence is based on the contention that there is insufficient proof to show that he had a knife in his possession on the night of the subject fight, and the assertion that there is insufficient evidence to show that he had a specific intent to commit the crime of assault with a deadly weapon. The latter contention was authoritatively settled recently in People v. Hood, 1 Cal.3d 444, 458, 82 Cal.Rptr. 618, 462 P.2d 370, where it was held that the offense is not one requiring specific intent.

In the instant case there was both direct and circumstantial evidence of considerable substantiality that defendant assaulted both Miller and Bressman with a deadly weapon. The evidence that both Miller and Bressman received severe cuts from a sharp instrument is uncontradicted, as is the evidence that Bressman did not strike defendant or take any swings at him. Mrs. Davis, Miller, January and O'Shea all saw defendant holding the knife either before or after defendant's attacks on Miller and Bressman. Stierna saw defendant with what appeared to be a knife. Later, he pried a knife with a broken blade from defendant's hand. There is no evidence that any other person involved in the altercation except January was carrying a knife. January testified that he carried a pocket knife on the night in question but that he did not 'have the knife out.' At the trial he produced the knife and showed it to the jury.

Miranda Warning

Defendant contends that the waiver of his Miranda rights was involuntary because of self-induced intoxication. This challenge is apparently directed to the voluntariness of the waiver rather than to the voluntariness of the statement itself.

We observe, initially, that self-induced intoxication will not by itself render a statement involuntary. (People v. Byrd, 42 Cal.2d 200, 211, 266 P.2d 505 (cert. den. 348 U.S. 848, 75 S.Ct. 73, 99, L.Ed. 668 overruled on other grounds, People v. Green, 47 Cal.2d 209, 229--232, 302 P.2d 307, and People v. Morse, 60 Cal.2d 631, 648--649, 36 Cal.Rptr. 201, 388 P.2d 33); People v. Dorman, 28 Cal.2d 846, 854.) In any event, the statements made by defendant while he sat in the patrol car were unquestionably admissible because they were spontaneous statements volunteered by him. (Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694; People v. Green, 236 Cal.App.2d 1, 12, 45 Cal.Rptr. 744; People v. Charles, 66 Cal.2d 330, 342, 57 Cal.Rptr. 745, 425 P.2d 545.)

Adverting to the statement concerning the incident which defendant gave of Officer Rasmussen at the police station following his arrest, we note that the matters contained in such statement that were brought to the attention of the jury were used for impeachment purposes only. Assuming that the statement elicited at the police station was obtained in violation of the conduct proscribed in Miranda, such statement could nevertheless be used for the limited purpose of impeachment when defendant took the stand. (Harris v. New York, 401 U.S. 222, 226, 91 S.Ct. 643, 28 L.Ed.2d 1.)

The rationale of Harris is that the shield of Miranda cannot be perverted into a license to use perjury by way of a defense, free from the risk of confrontation with prior inconsistent utterances, and that when a defendant voluntarily takes the stand he is under an obligation to speak...

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