People v. Maddox

Decision Date28 February 1956
Docket NumberCr. 5683
Citation294 P.2d 6,46 Cal.2d 301
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Eljoe MADDOX, Defendant and Appellant.

Eljoe Maddox, in pro. Per., and Clinton Wayne White, Oakland, for appellant.

Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., Clarence A. Linn, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Leo J. Vander Lans, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

TRAYNOR, Justice.

Defendant was found guilty by a jury of two counts of selling heroin, Health and Safety Code, § 11500, and one count of maintaining a place for the purpose of selling, giving away, or using heroin. Health and Safety Code, § 11557. His motion for a new trial was denied, and judgment was pronounced against him. He appeals from the judgment and the order denying his motion for a new trial.

Roy Cleek testified that on June 23, 1954, he visited defendant's home in Oakland and bought a $10 'paper' of heroin, as he had done many times in the preceding six months. He used defendant's equipment to take a shot of heroin and left it on the kitchen table. Both Cleek and Joe Davis testified that at about 3:30 p.m., Davis came to defendant's residence, bought a 'paper' from defendant, and used the same equipment to take a shot of heroin. Shortly after 4:30 p.m. Cleek and Davis left the premises and had not gone far when they were arrested by Officers Taylor and Hilliard of the Oakland Police Department. Officer Taylor testified that he had the premises under surveillance for about a month, that he saw known users of narcotics frequenting them, and that on June 23rd he and Officer Hilliard arrived at their lookout a few minutes before Cleek and Davis left defendant's home. Davis told the officers that he had beent to defendant's home and had taken a shot of heroin Officer Taylor and Davis then went to defendant's door and knocked. Officer Taylor heard a male voice say, 'Wait a mimute' and also heard the sound of retreating footsteps. He kicked the door open and rushed to the kitchen where he saw defendant with a spoon in his hand running toward the bedroom. He grappled with defendant, who threw the spoon into the bedroom. He found a small parcel containing two hypodermic needles, a syringe, and an eye dropper on the kitchen table. There were traces of heroin on the spoon. Within two hours after the officers arrived, seven persons came to the premises, five were known to Officer Taylor as narcotics users, and a sixth had needle marks on his arm.

Defendant testified in his own behalf and denied that he had sold heroin to Cleek or Davis or had ever had heroin in his possession. Cleek was a friend of his who visited him that day for a friendly conversation, and Davis came to discuss a new fender for defendant's car. After Cleek and Davis left, defendant discovered the parcel on the kitchen table and concluded that one of his visitors had left it. He denied any knowledge of the spoon or having it in his hand when Officer Taylor entered.

Defendant contends that the spoon and hypodermic equipment were illegally obtained and therefore inadmissible. The Attorney General contends that the officers had reasonable cause to arrest defendant for the commission of a felony, that they could lawfully enter his premises to make the arrest, and that the seizure of the evidence was lawful as an incident to the arrest. He also contends that since no objecion was made in the trial court, the admissibility of the evidence cannot be challenged for the first time on appeal.

This case was tried before the decision in People v. Cahan, 44 Cal.2d 434, 282 P.2d 905. We held in People v. Kitchens, Cal.Sup., 294 P.2d 17, that the rule that the admissibility of evidence will not be reviewed on appeal in the absence of a proper objection in the trial court, is not applicable to appeals based on the admission of illegally obtained evidence in cases tried before the decision in the Cahan case. In such cases, however, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is presumed that the officers acted legally. People v. Farrara, Cal.Sup., 294 P.2d 21. Moreover, in the present case Officer Taylor had defendant's home under surveillance for about a month and had observed known narcotics users frequenting it, and the information Davis gave him before the arrest was reasonable cause for the arrest. See, People v. Boyles, 45 Cal.2d 652, 290 P.2d 535; Penal Code, § 836(3).

Defendant contends, however, that the arrest was illegal because Officer Taylor did not comply with Penal Code section 844. That section provides: 'To make an arrest, a private person, if the offense be a felony, and in all cases a peace officer, may break open the door or window of the house in which the person to be arrested is, or in which they have reasonable grounds for believing him to be, after having demanded admittance and explained the purpose for which admittance is desired.' It is undisputed that Officer Taylor did not demand admittance and explain the purpose of the demand before he kicked in defendant's door.

The question is thus presented whether or not evidence obtained by a search incident to an arrest must be excluded when the officer has reasonable cause to make the arrest and search but fails to comply with the requirements of section 844. In previous cases we considered the requirements of both section 844 and section 841 of the Penal Code, but found it unnecessary to determine whether a violation of either section without more compels exclusion of evidence obtained at the time of an arrest, since those sections were complied with, see, e. g., People v. Martin, 45 Cal.2d 755, 290 P.2d 855; People v. Rios, Cal.Sup., 294 P.2d 39; Willson v. Superior Court, Cal.Sup., 294 P.2d 36, or the evidence was otherwise unlawfully obtained. See, People v. Cahan, supra, 44 Cal.2d 434, 282 P.2d 905.

The answer to this question must be sought in the basic reasons for the exclusionary rule. We considered those reasons again in People v. Martin, supra, 45 Cal.2d 755, 290 P.2d 855, and expressly rejected the theory that evidence is excluded to redress or punish a past wrong. The evidence is excluded 'on the ground that the government must not be allowed to profit by its own wrong and thus encouraged in the lawless enforcement of the law.' 45 Cal.2d 761, 290 P.2d at page 857. Accordingly, we held in the Martin case and in People v. Boyles, supra, 45 Cal.2d 652, 290 P.2d 535, that illegal conduct that was entirely unrelated and...

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  • People v. Brooks
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • May 26, 1965
    ... ... (People v. Torres (1961) 56 Cal.2d 864, 866, 17 Cal.Rptr. 495, 366 P.2d 823; People v. Hammond (1960) 54 Cal.2d 846, 853, 9 Cal.Rptr. 233; People v. Maddox (1956) 46 Cal.2d 301, 304, 294 P.2d 6.) In such event, the fact the officers might have gained admittance by subterfuge is immaterial. (People v. Lawrence (1957) 149 Cal.App.2d 435, 446, 308 P.2d 821.) ...         It is concluded that there is nothing in the manner of the entry to the ... ...
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    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • October 27, 1972
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  • Sterling, Application of
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    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • February 9, 1965
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  • People v. Gilbert
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    ...the suspect and increased the officers' peril. (See Ker v. State of California, 374 U.S. 23, 37-41, 83 S.Ct. 1623; People v. Maddox, 46 Cal.2d 301, 305-306, 294 P.2d 6.) The search in the present case is thus different from the search condemned in Stoner v. State of California, 376 U.S. 483......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Fourth Amendment - must police knock and announce themselves before kicking in the door of a house?
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 86 No. 4, June 1996
    • June 22, 1996
    ...at 313 n.l2 (citing McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451, 460-61 (Harlan,J., concurring)). (126) Id. at 309 (citing People v. Maddox, 294 P.2d 6 (Cal.), cert. denied, 352 U.S. 858 (1956) (destruction of evidence); Read v. Case, 4 Conn. 166 (1822) (apprehension of peril)). (127) Miller, 3......

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