People v. Lucas, No. S004788

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtLUCAS; KENNARD; MOSK
Citation12 Cal.4th 415,48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525,907 P.2d 373
Parties, 12 Cal.4th 825A, 907 P.2d 373, 96 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 70, 96 Daily Journal D.A.R. 96 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Larry Douglas LUCAS, Defendant and Appellant. Crim.
Decision Date29 December 1995
Docket NumberNo. S004788,No. 26422

Page 525

48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525
12 Cal.4th 415, 12 Cal.4th 825A, 907 P.2d 373,
96 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 70,
96 Daily Journal D.A.R. 96
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Larry Douglas LUCAS, Defendant and Appellant.
No. S004788.
Crim. No. 26422.
Supreme Court of California.
Dec. 29, 1995.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing Feb. 21, 1996.

Page 535

[12 Cal.4th 432] [907 P.2d 383] Paul A. Renne and Betty Ann Durham, under appointment by the Supreme Court, Cooley, Godward, Castro, Huddleson & Tatum, James R. Batchelder, David J. Estrada, Steven L. Friedlander, Kristin K. Croft, Jeffrey N. Hyman, Deborah J. Kanarek, Philip M. Guess and Christopher E. Stretch, San Francisco, for Defendant and Appellant.

[12 Cal.4th 433] Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, George Williamson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Carol Wendelin Pollack, Assistant Attorney General, John R. Gorey, Susan Lee Frierson and Mary Sanchez, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

LUCAS, Chief Justice.

Defendant Larry Douglas Lucas appeals from the judgment of the Los Angeles County Superior Court imposing the death penalty following his conviction by jury of two counts of first degree murder (Pen.Code, § 187; all further statutory references are to this code unless otherwise indicated), and burglary (§ 459), as well as two special-circumstance findings: multiple murder (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(3)), and burglary murder (id., subd. (a)(17)(vii)). After the jury's death penalty verdict, the trial court denied defendant's motion for new trial and the automatic motion to modify penalty. (§ 190.4, subd. (e).) Appeal to this court is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).)

I. FACTS

On October 15, 1986, a letter carrier saw victim Edwin Marriott alive and well. The next day when she tried to deliver mail, the screen door of his house covered the mail slot and no one came to the door to answer her ring, both unusual circumstances. The letter carrier became concerned when the Marriotts failed to come to the door to receive their mail for several days thereafter. She contacted a neighbor, who called the victims' daughter. Inspection of the home disclosed the bodies of the victims, Edwin and Mary Marriott, aged respectively 85 and 75. They had suffered multiple stab wounds and blunt force traumas.

Mary Marriott was found in her nightgown in the south bedroom. There was blood

Page 536

[907 P.2d 384] along the east wall of the bedroom and four bloody finger marks on her bedroom door. A bloody folding knife with a bent tip was found under a pile of bedding and debris. Edwin Marriott was found in the doorway of the north bedroom. There was a bloodstain in the center of the door and bloodstains on a drawer found on the floor of the bedroom. A lamp base and shade on the bedroom floor had bloodstains on them, as did clothing found in the closet. There was a bloody residue in the sink in the sole bathroom of the house and there was also a bloody footprint on the floor.

The Marriott home, usually kept in impeccable order, was strewn with upturned drawers and blood-smeared objects. In the hallway between the [12 Cal.4th 434] bedrooms was a jewelry box with costume jewelry nearby. A window shade in the front of the house, stained with blood, was folded back, affording a view of the street.

A kitchen drawer was pulled out and stained with blood, as were some of the kitchen cabinets. There were bloody footprints in the kitchen. A small tack hammer with a broken head was found in the kitchen. A key ring with keys was found in a planter outside the kitchen door. The back door of the home, leading into the kitchen, was open and glass from the door was broken out. The back door had a deadbolt requiring a key to open it from either side. There was broken glass both inside the kitchen and outside on the porch area and lawn. The screen door on the back porch was torn above the lock and handle. Blood drops led from the kitchen to the driveway of defendant's residence next door. There were blood drops on the sidewalk, a smear of blood on the wall of defendant's garage and some blood on the gate latch leading toward the back yard of defendant's home.

A search of defendant's home produced a pair of jeans and boxer shorts with blood on them. Defendant's fingerprints matched those on the jewelry box and another small cardboard box found inside the Marriott home. Blood found on various items in the Marriott home was consistent with defendant's blood but not with that of the victims. Blood on the jeans found in defendant's home was consistent with defendant's blood, while the blood on the boxer shorts found inside the jeans was consistent with Edwin Marriott's blood but not with defendant's.

Defendant produced evidence that he was arrested for being under the influence of drugs on the day the bodies were discovered. At that time he had multiple puncture marks on his arm, some fresh, some older. Defendant also produced the testimony of his employer, who saw him around 10 p.m. on October 15, 1986, the date of the murders. The employer, Mr. Perez, testified he saw defendant with two unfamiliar men, clearly "under the influence of something." Defendant's hands were shaking as if he were dribbling a basketball and he seemed "hyperactive."

Defendant testified that he had lived next door to the Marriotts for many years. He stated that on October 15, 1986, having received a cash payment from his employer, he spent the day with two men, Croffoot and Sandoval, injecting crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and finally heroin in large quantities. Ultimately defendant passed out, and could only recall standing in a dark hall, with faces like "waxy fright masks" coming at him. He tried to push them away and struck at them. He ran, looking over his shoulder. He remembered driving, but could not recall where. He woke up at the beach. [12 Cal.4th 435] His hand was stuck to the seat of the car with blood. He washed his hands. The right hand was cut across the first knuckle of the index finger and on the heel of the palm. He had no recollection of receiving these injuries. He continued to ingest drugs, returning home on one occasion to obtain funds from his wife. He had no recollection of any "problem" with the Marriotts. He had no reason or desire to kill the Marriotts, and no need to enter their home to obtain money for drugs. He identified the jeans found in his home as his, but was not sure the boxer shorts found inside them were his.

In rebuttal, officers who interrogated defendant after his arrest testified that defendant identified the bloody folding knife found at the Marriotts' home as his own. He also attempted to hide his wounded hand during the interview. When asked how the Marriotts' back door window was broken, defendant

Page 537

[907 P.2d 385] told the officers he broke the window and took the glass out of the panel. He admitted cutting himself inside the Marriott home, but did not admit killing the victims.

In surrebuttal, defendant said he kept his hands in his pockets during the jail interview in compliance with jail rules. He stated that the officers' questioning focused on a man named Randy Norris, and that one officer threatened him with the death penalty when he requested an attorney. He merely stated the knife found at the scene was similar to one of his own. He did not admit breaking the window of the back door of the Marriott house and cutting his hand there. He was sick during the interview because he was withdrawing from drugs and had a kidney infection.

In further rebuttal, the interrogating officers denied threatening defendant with the death penalty and said the interview stopped when defendant asked for an attorney. Defendant told them "they" (apparently referring to himself and an accomplice) had used a key to unlock the deadbolt on the Marriotts' back door.

At the penalty trial, the People offered evidence that when a baby-sitter defendant had employed approached him about being paid, defendant accused her of stealing his marijuana, punched her, and knocked her off his porch. He also threatened to hire someone to kill her. This conduct resulted in a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

Defendant offered no evidence at the penalty trial, having called only his wife, who invoked the marital privilege. The trial court expressed great concern over this development, and caused defendant and counsel to present their tactical reasons for the decision to present no evidence at an ex parte hearing before another judge, the transcript of which was ordered sealed. [12 Cal.4th 436] The trial court confirmed that the court in the closed hearing had determined that counsel had consulted 12 or 13 witnesses, and had a tactical reason not to call any witnesses at the penalty trial. The court also obtained defendant's personal, on-the-record waiver of his right to testify at the penalty trial as well as his statement that he concurred in counsel's decision to present no evidence at that phase of trial.

The jury returned a verdict of death.

II. GUILT TRIAL ISSUES

A. Ineffective assistance of counsel.

Defendant claims he was deprived of the right to effective assistance of counsel, as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the federal Constitution and by article I, section 15 of the California Constitution. He cites several instances of alleged incompetence.

The law governing defendant's claim is settled. "A criminal defendant is guaranteed the right to the assistance of counsel by both the state and federal Constitutions. (U.S. Const., 6th Amend.; Cal. Const., art. I, § 15.) 'Construed in light of its purpose, the right entitles the defendant not to some bare assistance but rather to effective assistance.' " (People v. Wharton (1991) 53 Cal.3d 522, 575, 280 Cal.Rptr. 631, 809 P.2d 290, quoting People v. Ledesma (1987) 43 Cal.3d 171, 215, 233 Cal.Rptr. 404, 729 P.2d 839, italics in original.) It is defendant's burden to demonstrate the inadequacy...

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1563 practice notes
  • People v. Cortez, No. S211915.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 9, 2016
    ...an abuse of discretion standard." (People v. Tatum (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 288, 298, 133 Cal.Rptr.2d 267, citing People v. Lucas (1995) 12 Cal.4th 415, 466, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373.)The record here reveals no abuse of discretion. Insofar as Bernal's statements suggest that defendant......
  • People v. McWhorter, No. S068536.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 6, 2009
    ...was the holder of the privilege, defendant does not have standing to raise the claim. (Evid. Code, § 918; see People v. Lucas (1995) 12 Cal.4th 415, 490, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373; Jurcoane v. Superior Court (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 886, 896, 113 Cal.Rptr.2d 483.) Defense counsel himsel......
  • People v. Dickey, No. S025519.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 23, 2005
    ...of the crime, a factor relevant to the issues of aggravation and penalty. (E.g., People v. Lucas [(1995)] 12 Cal.4th [415,] 490 [48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373]; People v. Sanchez (1995) 12 Cal.4th 1, 63-65 [47 Cal.Rptr.2d 843, 906 P.2d 1129]; People v. Medina (1995) 11 Cal.4th 694, 775 [......
  • Johnson v. Superior Court of L. A. Cnty., B266421
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 27, 2016
    ...whom to prosecute].) This “broad discretion” extends to “selecting the cases to be subject to a capital charge.” (People v. Lucas (1995) 12 Cal.4th 415, 477–478, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373.) Inherent in the prosecution's charging discretion is its power not to bring charges. That deci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1571 cases
  • People v. Cortez, No. S211915.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 9, 2016
    ...an abuse of discretion standard." (People v. Tatum (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 288, 298, 133 Cal.Rptr.2d 267, citing People v. Lucas (1995) 12 Cal.4th 415, 466, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373.)The record here reveals no abuse of discretion. Insofar as Bernal's statements suggest that defendant......
  • People v. McWhorter, No. S068536.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 6, 2009
    ...was the holder of the privilege, defendant does not have standing to raise the claim. (Evid. Code, § 918; see People v. Lucas (1995) 12 Cal.4th 415, 490, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373; Jurcoane v. Superior Court (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 886, 896, 113 Cal.Rptr.2d 483.) Defense counsel himsel......
  • People v. Dickey, No. S025519.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 23, 2005
    ...of the crime, a factor relevant to the issues of aggravation and penalty. (E.g., People v. Lucas [(1995)] 12 Cal.4th [415,] 490 [48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373]; People v. Sanchez (1995) 12 Cal.4th 1, 63-65 [47 Cal.Rptr.2d 843, 906 P.2d 1129]; People v. Medina (1995) 11 Cal.4th 694, 775 [......
  • Johnson v. Superior Court of L. A. Cnty., B266421
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 27, 2016
    ...whom to prosecute].) This “broad discretion” extends to “selecting the cases to be subject to a capital charge.” (People v. Lucas (1995) 12 Cal.4th 415, 477–478, 48 Cal.Rptr.2d 525, 907 P.2d 373.) Inherent in the prosecution's charging discretion is its power not to bring charges. That deci......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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