People v. Lawrence, Cr. 14063

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation4 Cal.3d 273,93 Cal.Rptr. 204,481 P.2d 212
Decision Date05 March 1971
Docket NumberCr. 14063
Parties, 481 P.2d 212 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Michael LAWRENCE, Defendant and Appellant.

Sheela, Lightner, Hughes, Hilmen & Castro, and Howard J. Bechefsky, San Diego, for defendant and appellant.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., Ivan Hoffman and Mark Leicester, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

WRIGHT, Chief Justice.

Defendant appeals from a judgment entered upon jury verdicts finding him guilty of kidnaping (Pen.Code, § 207) and assault with a deadly weapon (Pen.Code, § 245).

In this case we hold that the rules of United States v. Wade (1967) 388 U.S. 218, 87 S.Ct. 1926, 18 L.Ed.2d 1149, and Gilbert v. California (1967) 388 U.S. 263, 87 S.Ct. 1951, 18 L.Ed.2d 1178, do not apply to pretrial photographic identifications made of a suspect after his arrest. We affirm the judgment because there is no evidence that the photographic identification procedure used denied defendant due process of law.

At 8:30 p.m. on February 12, 1968, a man forced Mrs. Susan Ward into his car at gunpoint. About 10 minutes later she escaped, ran to a nearby house, and called the police, to whom she described her assailant. Defendant was arrested about two hours later. The following day at the police station Mrs. Ward identified defendant as her assailant from photographs taken of a simulated lineup conducted earlier that day. No witnesses were present at the time the photographs were taken nor was defendant's counsel present.

Before the trial 1 defendant moved to suppress evidence of Mrs. Ward's identification of him. The parties stipulated that the court's decision on the legality of the photographs of the purported lineup and the admissibility of the identification testimony would be binding at trial, but that defendant would be free to attack the probative weight to be given the identifications.

At the pretrial hearing defendant submitted the preliminary hearing transcript, testified himself, and called Mrs. Ward and David Horn, his attorney, as witnesses.

Mrs. Ward testified substantially as hereinafter set forth. On the evening of February 12, 1968, she was walking home from a neighborhood supermarket when she was accosted in its parking lot by a man brandishing a gun. The man stood facing her about two feet away, next to a car. He said, 'I'm sorry it has to be you,' and forced her into the car. He told her not to give him any trouble or 'he would give me this * * * and he pointed the gun and he shot it. * * *' The area around the automobile was illuminated and Mrs. Ward could see her assailant clearly. She described him as being about five feet eight to five feet ten inches tall and in his late thirties or early forties. She was able to get a good look at his full face and described him as having a medium complexion, dark curly hair at the temples, deep lines and furrows in his forehead and under his chin, and a face that was pockmarked. He was wearing a black trenchcoat, black hat, dark pants and dark pointed shoes.

Mrs. Ward further testified that she had been requested to come to the police station on the day following the incident. She arrived there at about 9 a.m. and recounted her story to Sergeant Duncan. She was told that the police had a suspect in custody, information she also had already received the previous night. Sometime in the afternoon of the same day three color photographs of five men standing in a row were shown by Duncan to Mrs. Ward who apparently had remained at the police station throughout the entire period of time. Each photograph depicted the same five men but different poses were assumed in each of the pictures.

At the photographic identification interview Duncan did not tell Mrs Ward one of the men was the suspect in custody; nevertheless, she hoped her assailant was among those pictured. Duncan told her to be sure to pick out the right one, by which she understood him to mean that she was to be certain not to pick out someone who had nothing to do with the crime. His statement did not lead her to believe that one of the men was the suspect. Duncan said nothing at all during the time she was looking at the photographs and he did not give her the names of any of the persons in the photographs of any information about any of them. He made no marks on the photographs and did not point out anyone in the photographs. Mrs. Ward testified that as far as she was concerned her assailant was not necessarily to be among the men shown in the pictures.

After looking at the photographs for two or three seconds she pointed out defendant as the person who had accosted her at gunpoint. Duncan then told her that 'three other girls had positively identified him.' He did not explain that those identifications were made with regard to offenses unrelated to the kidnaping of Mrs. Ward.

Defendant testified that the photographs were taken after he had talked to Mr. Horn, his attorney, and that when being taken to be photographed he told his police escort: '(t)hat my counsel had advised me that it was my right to a fair trial, and that a fair trial I could not have if I participated in police lineups without his presence; and that I should tell the officers--any officers who approached me to participate in any kind of procedure to please notify him and give him an opportunity to be present and we would be more than happy to cooperate in any way, statements, photographs, or anything.' Defendant testified that the same police officer had just taken him from a meeting with Horn in the interview room.

Horn testified that on his first visit he had advised defendant to refuse to answer any questions and to say that he did so on advice of counsel, that nothing was said on that occasion about any lineup, but that the subject was mentioned on February 14, the day following the simulated lineup and identification by Mrs. Ward.

The court denied the motion to suppress, ruling that counsel was not required at the showing of the pictures, that the purported lineup was not so unnecessarily suggestive and conducive to irreparable mistaken identification that defendant was denied due process of law, and that there was no evidence to suggest that the pretrial identification would taint an in-court identification.

The first trial ended when the court declared a mistrial after the jurors were unable to arrive at a verdict. At his retrial defendant again moved to suppress the identification testimony. The court denied the renewed motion and indicated that although it disagreed with the original ruling on the pretrial motion it considered itself bound by the parties' stipulation that the ruling would be binding at trial. Defendant contends that the court was not bound by the prior ruling. Because we hold the photographic identification procedure neither entitled defendant to counsel nor denied him due process of law we need not decide this issue.

Although it appears that better police procedures could well have been employed by conducting a true lineup with counsel for defendant and the witness present (and it further appears that ample time and opportunity were available to present such a lineup) the failure to take such action is not the crucial factor in the determination of the case at bench. We are involved only with a photograph of a Simulated lineup and we see no distinction in this respect between such identifications and identifications made from mug shots or other types of photographic displays. (See United States v. Collins (4th Cir. 1969) 416 F.2d 696; Commonwealth v. Whiting (1970) 439 Pa. 205, 266 A.2d 738, 740, fn. 3.) As indicated infra the overwhelming weight of authority holds that counsel is not required at a post-arrest showing of pictures. Thus, if the police had cut up the photographs and shown the pictures of the participants individually Wade and Gilbert would have no conceivable application. We find no basis in logic to reach a different conclusion because pictures of five men standing in a line were shown.

In United States v. Wade, supra, 388 U.S. 218, 87 S.Ct. 1926, 18 L.Ed.2d 1149, the United States Supreme Court held that a pretrial lineup was a 'critical stage' of the prosecution at which the accused was entitled to the presence of counsel. Wade and its companion case, Gilbert v. California, supra, 388 U.S. 263, 87 S.Ct. 1951, 18 L.Ed.2d 1178, 'fashion exclusionary rules to deter law enforcement authorities from Exhibiting an accused to witnesses before trial for identification purposes without notice to and in the absence of counsel.' (Stovall v. Denno (1967) 388 U.S. 293, 297, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 1970, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199. Italics added.) The court stated that it would scrutinize any 'pretrial Confrontation of the accused' and consider the 'particular Confrontation' involved to determine if counsel's presence was required. (United States v. Wade, supra, 388 U.S. 218, 227, 87 S.Ct. 1926, 18 L.Ed.2d 1149. Italics added.) Thus the key issue before this court is whether a photographic identification proceeding constitutes and exhibition or confrontation of the accused to the witness.

In Wade, Gilbert, and Stovall, the police exhibited the accused to witnesses in person. At such corporeal exhibitions the authorities may require the accused to move about, perform certain acts, don particular clothing, or speak the identical words used by the accused during the commission of the offense. (United States v. Wade, supra, 388 U.S. 218, 221--223, 87 S.Ct. 1926, 18 L.Ed.2d 1149; Gilbert v. California, supra, 388 U.S. 263, 265--267, 87 S.Ct. 1951, 18 L.Ed.2d 1178; Schmerber v. California (1966) 384 U.S. 757, 760--765, 86 S.Ct. 1826, 16 L.Ed.2d 908; Holt v. United States (1910) 218 U.S. 245, 252--253, 31 S.Ct. 2, 54 L.Ed. 1021.) The witness observes the suspect in person from a short distance performing the very...

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