People v. Matlock, Cr. 8125

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Citation11 Cal.App.3d 453,89 Cal.Rptr. 862
Decision Date22 September 1970
Docket NumberCr. 8125
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent. v. James. C. MATLOCK, Defendant and Appellant.

Page 862

89 Cal.Rptr. 862
11 Cal.App.3d 453
PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent.
James. C. MATLOCK, Defendant and Appellant.
Cr. 8125.
Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1, California.
Sept. 22, 1970.

[11 Cal.App.3d 455] Herbert W. Yanowitz, San Francisco, for appellant.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen. of Cal., Robert R. Granucci, Charles R. B. Kirk, Deputy Atty. Gen., San Francisco, for respondent.

Page 863

ELKINGTON, Associate Justice.

Defendant James C. Matlock was convicted by jury verdicts of an assault with a deadly weapon (Pen.Code, § 245a) and possession of marijuana (Health & Saf. Code, § 11530). On the assault charge he was sentenced to state prison; execution of the sentence was thereupon suspended and he was placed on probation. On the narcotics charge imposition of sentence was suspended and probation was granted.

The appeal is from 'the final judgment of conviction and sentence and order after judgment affecting his substantial rights.' We shall treat the appeal as from the judgment of conviction on the assault charge and from the order granting probation as to the narcotics offense. (See Pen.Code, § 1237.)

Matlock's first contention concerns the People's proof, over objection, that he had suffered seven prior misdemeanor convictions and had committed other acts relating to acts of violence. We have concluded that [11 Cal.App.3d 456] the trial court's related rulings were prejudicially erroneous and that Matlock's convictions must be set aside.

The aggravated assault charge was based on evidence that Matlock had assaulted one Jean Hartgrove with a loaded gun. Matlock took the witness stand on his own behalf; he admitted that earlier on the day of the alleged assault he had slapped her with his hand. He testified that the lady thereafter produced a gun, and that during a struggle for its possession he struck her with his fist, and the firearm accidentally discharged. He stated that this had happened in the kitchen.

On Matlock's cross-examination the record shows the following to have occurred (the emphasis is ours):

'(District Attorney) Q. And you never beat her in the bedroom?

'A. No, I did not.

'Q. As a matter of fact, you enjoyed beating her, didn't you?

'A I don't enjoy beating no one at no time.

'Q. No one at no time?

'A. That's right.

'(Defense Attorney): Objected to. This is badgering the witness, Your Honor.

'The Court: The objection is overruled.

'(District Attorney) Q. Have you ever struck a woman before?

'(Defense Attorney): Objected to as incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial.

'The Court: The witness said he volunteered information that he had never beaten anyone at any time. So, having volunteered this information, the prosecutor has the right to examine him in this regard.

'The Witness: Your Honor, may I straighten him out, please?

'The Court: He is asking you a question.

'The Witness: I want to answer the question. It's different from him--

'(District Attorney): You can answer yes or no and then explain it.

'The Witness: He said I enjoyed beating people. Then you just said that I have never beaten anyone at any time.

'The Court: That's what you said.

[11 Cal.App.3d 457] 'The Witness: I said I never enjoyed beating anyone at any time.

'(District Attorney): That's not his answer, Your Honor.

'The Witness: I never enjoyed beating anyone, fighting no one.

'(District Attorney) Q. Would you answer the question: Have you ever struck any woman?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Have you ever been convicted for striking a woman?

'A. Yes.

'Q. How many times?

'A. One.

'Q. You have been convicted for battery on three separate occasions, have you not?

'(Defense Attorney): Objected to as incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial.

Page 864

'The Court: Overruled in view of the statement volunteered by the defendant. It is competent.'

Thereupon the district attorney asked Matlock whether on June 1, 1956, he was convicted of battery in the municipal court, given thirty-day suspended sentence, and placed on probation with a $25 fine and restitution; Matlock admitted this. The district attorney further asked if he was convicted of battery in 1947; Matlock stated he did not remember. Asked if he was convicted of a battery on Joan Ethel Ervin, a former employee, Matlock stated that he was arrested and went to court, but did not know what the result was; he was not sentenced to jail. Thereupon the district attorney asked if he was not placed on one year's probation on August 11, 1959. Matlock answered: 'Maybe, I were; I probably were.' He was then asked if he was arrested on April 6, 1963, for a battery on Bertha Moffet. Matlock admitted that he was and when asked if he was given 60 days suspended sentence and placed on probation, stated that he did not know what had happened. All he knew was that he did not serve any 'time.' Questioned if he had ever done 'any time for a battery charge,' Matlock answered: 'Yes--no, I'm sorry, I don't think I have no battery.'

The district attorney then proceeded with the following line of questioning:

'Q. As a matter of fact, your probation was revoked and you did six months in the County Jail?

[11 Cal.App.3d 458] 'A. That's right. That was for battery, was it?

'Q. That was for battery.

'A. That's the one I went down on, yes.

'Q. Are you familiar with a girl by the name of Doris Miles?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Did you ever strike Miss Miles?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Are you familiar with a man by the name of Alfonso Samorano?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Did you ever strike him?

'A. No, I did not.

'Q. Are you familiar with a woman by the name of Miss Melba Moore?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Did you ever strike Miss Moore?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Are you familiar with a Pearly May Matlock?

'A. Yes.

'Q. Did you ever strike Miss Matlock?

'A. I did not.

'Q. Calling your attention to March 28, 1962, was she...

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2 cases
  • People v. Greene, Cr. 10427
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • 15 Octubre 1973
    ...367, 465 P.2d 263; People v. Kelley (1967) 66 Cal.2d 232, 238--245, 57 Cal.Rptr. 363, 424 P.2d 947; and People v. Matlock (1970) 11 Cal.App.3d 453, 460--461, 89 Cal.Rptr. 862.) The principles are well defined. It is only their application to particular facts which cause dispute, and to some......
  • People v. Lent, Cr. 17984
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 30 Octubre 1975
    ...prior misdemeanor convictions. (Stickel v. San Diego Elec. Ry. Co. (1948) 32 Cal.2d 157, 165, 195 P.2d 416; People v. Matlock (1970) 11 Cal.App.3d 453, 461, 89 Cal.Rptr. 862.) Indeed, the rule has been described as 'elementary' (People v. Sutton (1964) 231 Cal.App.2d 511, 514, 41 Cal.Rptr. ......

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