People v. Hen Chin, Cr. 3219

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtFRED B. WOOD; PETERS, P. J., and BRAY
Citation303 P.2d 18,145 Cal.App.2d 583
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Rudy HEN CHIN, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date02 November 1956
Docket NumberCr. 3219

Edward T. Mancuso, Public Defender, City and County of San Francisco, Joseph McNamara, Deputy Public Defender, San Francisco, for appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., Clarence A. Linn, Asst. Atty. Gen., William M. Bennett, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

FRED B. WOOD, Justice.

An officer experienced in the enforcement of the narcotics laws 1 knew defendant Rudy Chin and knew Chin to be a user of narcotics. 2 He had an agent working under him who was buying narcotics from one McNamara and reported that McNamara twice took the agent to the vicinity of a certain hotel and told the agent that McNamara's connection was a Chinese by the name of Rudy. About two hours before going to that hotel, the officer interviewed a Chinese informant (one who had given reliable information on previous occasions and who was known to the officer as an associate of Rudy Chin) and asked the informant if he knew where Rudy Chin lived. The informant said that Rudy Chin lived at room 34 of the hotel mentioned, adding that Chin was a source of supply to McNamara.

Acting upon this information, the officer, with two policemen, 3 proceeded to room 34. One of the policemen took a position in the corridor opposite the door to room 34. The officer who knew Chin, accompanied by the other policeman, went to a lightwell outside of and adjoining room 34. Looking from the lightwell through a window into room 34, the officer observed 4 Chin in the room, reclining on a bed, awake. On a dresser table near the bed, the officer saw two small white packets wrapped in bindle shape; also, an object which was covered with tissue paper. The officer thereupon formed the opinion that the two white packets were probably bindles of heroin. 5

The policemen who accompanied the officer then raised the window and the shade further and the officer told Chin he was under arrest and instructed him to open the door and not touch anything on the dresser. Chin immediately complied. The three officers entered the room. One of them immediately handcuffed the defendant and another seized the two white packets (which later upon chemical analysis proved to contain heroin) and the paper covered object (which consisted of a hypodermic needle, a syringe and a spoon, known as a narcotics 'outfit').

Under these circumstances it is manifest that the finding of the trial court (the case was tried without a jury, a jury having been waived) that the arrest, the search and the seizure were legal (despite the lack of a search warrant) is amply supported by substantial evidence that 'a felony * * * [had] in fact been committed, and * * * [that the arresting officers had] reasonable cause for believing the person arrested [defendant Rudy Chin] to have committed it', Pen.Code, § 836, subd. 3, and that the bindles of heroin and the narcotics 'outfit' were admissible in evidence, having been legally seized. 6

'There is a substantial agreement in the decisions of the courts as to what constitutes probable cause or reasonable cause such as will justify one in arresting or prosecuting another upon a criminal charge; and perhsps as clear and comprehensive a statement of the rule as can be found is that of Shaw, C. J., in Bacon v. Towne, 4 Cush. [Mass.] 217. 'There must be such a state of facts,' said he, 'as would lead a man of ordinary care and prudence to believe, or entertain an honest and strong suspicion, that the person is guilty.'' People v. Kilvington, 104 Cal. 86, 92, 37 P. 799, 801. (Emphasis added.) See also People v. Martin, 45 Cal.2d 755, 761-762, 290 P.2d 855; Willson v. Superior Court, 46 Cal.2d 291, 294 P.2d 36; People v. Maddox, 46 Cal.2d 301, 294 P.2d 6; People v. Rodriguez, 140 Cal.App.2d 865, 869, 296 P.2d 38; People v. Moore, 140 Cal.App.2d 870, 871-874, 295 P.2d 969; People v. Soto, 144 Cal.App.2d 294, 301 P.2d 45. Reasonable cause to justify an arrest is not necessarily limited to evidence that would be admissible on a trial of the issue of guilt. It may include information received from others. People v. Boyles, 45 Cal.2d 652, 656, 290 P.2d 535; Willson v. Superior Court, supra, 46 Cal.2d 291, 294 P.2d 36; Trowbridge v. Superior Court, 144 Cal.App.2d 13, 300 P.2d 222. Looking through a window does not constitute an unreasonable search. People v. Martin, supra, 45 Cal.2d 755, 762, 290 P.2d 855; People v. Moore, supra, 140 Cal.App.2d 870, 871, 295 P.2d 969.

These cases exemplify and apply longestablished principles of logic and of law, illustrated illuminatively by the inimitable opinion which flowed from the facile pen of Georgia's Chief Justice Bleckley some eight and sixty years ago: 'A social, genial gentleman, fond of company and a glass, by occupation a cigar-maker, who keeps his sleeping apartment with the doors 'blanketed,' in a fit condition for privately gaming therein, and who invites his friends at night to refresh themselves with beer, but has in the room, besides barrel and bottles, a table suitable for gaming, together with 11 packs of cards and 2 boxes of 'chips,' one containing 80 chips and the other 300, and a memorandum book with names and numbers entered in it, and whose guests, or some of them, retire hurriedly under the bed on being surprised by a visit from the police at 1 o'clock in the morning, may or may not be guilty of the offense of keeping a gaming-house. A verdict of guilty, based on...

To continue reading

Request your trial
16 cases
  • People v. Garner, Cr. 3933
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 5 Mayo 1965
    ...asserts, however, that the right to return him to custody can only be exercised by his parole officer, citing People v. Hen Chin (1956) 145 Cal.App.2d 583, 303 P.2d 18. It is therein suggested that although a local police officer knows that a parolee is wanted for failure to report to his p......
  • Sterling, Application of, Cr. 10320
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 9 Febrero 1965
    ...had reasonable cause to believe a public offense was being committed and being committed in their presence. (People v. Hen Chin, 145 Cal.App.2d 583, 587, 303 P.2d 18, citing Pacetti v. State of Georgia, 82 Ga. 297, 7 S.E. 2) Forcible Entry to Make an Arrest Being satisfied that the police o......
  • People v. Willard, Cr. 5026
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 22 Noviembre 1965
    ...602, 607, 21 Cal.Rptr. 552, 371 P.2d 288; People v. Moore (1956) 140 Cal.App.2d 870, 871, 295 P.2d 969; People v. Hen Chin (1956) 145 Cal.App.2d 583, 586, 303 P.2d 18; People v. Amado (1959) 167 Cal.App.2d 345, 347, 334 P.2d 254; People v. Steffano (1960) 177 Cal.App.2d 414, 417, 2 Cal.Rptr......
  • Joe Sterling Et Al. on Habeas Corpus, In re, Cr. 10320
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 22 Junio 1965
    ...had reasonable cause to believe a public offense was being committed and being committed in their presence. (People v. Hen Chin, 145 Cal.App.2d 583, 587, 303 P.2d 185 citing Pacetti v. State of Georgia, 82 Ga. 297, 7 S.E. Forcible Entry to Make an Arrest Being satisfied that the police offi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT