People v. Matson, Cr. 17896

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtCLARK; WRIGHT
Citation13 Cal.3d 35,117 Cal.Rptr. 664,528 P.2d 752
Parties, 528 P.2d 752 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Ernie Lee MATSON, Defendant and Appellant. In Bank
Docket NumberCr. 17896
Decision Date09 December 1974

Page 664

117 Cal.Rptr. 664
13 Cal.3d 35, 528 P.2d 752
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Ernie Lee MATSON, Defendant and Appellant.
Cr. 17896.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Dec. 9, 1974.

[13 Cal.3d 37]

Page 665

[528 P.2d 753] G. Tom Thompson, Long Beach, under appointment by the Supreme Court, for defendant and appellant.

Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen., Edward A. Hinz, Jr., and Jack R. Winkler, Chief Asst. Attys. Gen., William E. James and S. Clark Moore, Asst. Attys. Gen., Norman H. Sokolow and Lawrence P. Scherb, II, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

CLARK, Justice

Defendant appeals from judgment entered on jury verdicts convicting him of raping Mrs. H (Pen.Code, § 261, subds. 2, 3) and burglarizing the apartment of Miss G (Pen.Code, § 459). He contends: (1) The trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to sever the two counts; and (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the burglary conviction. The judgment is affirmed.

13 Cal.3d 38

Page 666

528 P.2d 754

MRS. H

While moving out of her apartment one evening, Mrs. H left the door ajar and made a number of trips to her car, parked in an alley next to the building. Shortly after midnight, she saw a man walking down the alley whistling, apparently for a dog. Coming within a few feet of Mrs. H, he asked her if she had seen a dog. After a brief conversation, the man watched her pack the car for a few minutes, then walked away.

Hearing leaves crackle later, Mrs. H peeked around her car and, seeing the same man, jumped back, saying 'Don't do that. It scared me.' Apologizing, the man turned around and appeared to walk away again.

Having finished packing her car, Mrs. H started up the stairway to her apartment when the same man suddenly reappeared and forced her up the stairs, saying 'Just keep quiet and you won't get hurt.' He took her into the bedroom of her apartment and raped her.

At trial, Mrs. H positively identified defendant as her assailant. She also identified him at the preliminary hearing.

MISS G

One evening 11 days later, Miss G parked on the street near her apartment, a mile and a half from the scene of the earlier crime. She carried some packages to the apartment, turned on the lights, gave her cats a bowl of water, then returned for the rest of her packages, leaving the lights on and closing--but not locking--the door. As she walked down the street to her car, a man stepped out from between two buildings, walking past her in the opposite direction.

Reentering her apartment, Miss G noticed that the kitchen light was now off, the cats' bowl overturned, and the cats failed to greet her, contrary to their custom. Feeling 'weird,' she began checking the rest of the apartment. Turning on the bathroom light, she recognized the man she had encountered earlier standing behind the door. Screaming as loudly as she could, Miss G ran from the apartment.

Defendant was positively identified at trial by Miss G and by neighbors who apprehended him as he followed her from the apartment. One neighbor had seen him in the immediate vicinity three hours earlier.

The defense to the rape charge consisted of an alibi supported by defendant's wife and friends. The defense to the burglary charge was the following: Defendant, feeling too drunk to continue driving, stopped in [13 Cal.3d 39] Miss G's neighborhood to sober up at a friend's home. Unable to find his friend's residence, defendant allegedly asked Miss G for permission to use her telephone, followed her into the apartment when she entered without answering him, and was surprised by her alarmed response.

SEVERANCE

Section 954 of the Penal Code provides in relevant part that 'two or more different offenses connected together in their commission' may be consolidated for trial; however, the court 'in the interests of justice and for good cause shown, may in its discretion order that the different offenses . . . be tried separately.'

Offenses committed at different times and places against different victims are, nevertheless, 'connected together in their commission' when there is a 'common element of substantial importance' among them. (People v. Pike (1962) 58 Cal.2d 70, 84, 22 Cal.Rptr. 664, 372 P.2d 656; People v. Spates (1959) 53 Cal.2d 33, 36, 346 P.2d 5; People v. Chessman (1959) 52 Cal.2d 467, 492, 341 P.2d 679.) The offenses joined here have several elements of substantial importance in common. Most obvious is the modus operandi--lying in wait for lone women leaving their apartments unlocked while making repeated trips at night to load or unload their cars. Additionally, a mere 11 days and a mile and a half separated the two crimes.

Because...

To continue reading

Request your trial
174 practice notes
  • People v. Cooks, Cr. 15402
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 25, 1983
    ...Cal.2d 194, 77 Cal.Rptr. 804, 454 P.2d 700; People v. Schader (1969) 71 Cal.2d 761, 80 Cal.Rptr. 1, 457 P.2d 841; People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35, 40, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752; People v. Guerrero (1976) 16 Cal.3d 719, 129 Cal.Rptr. 166, 548 P.2d 366; People v. Thomas, supra, 20 ......
  • People v. Lucky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 16, 1988
    ...together in their commission" when they are, as here, linked by a " 'common element of substantial importance.' " (People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35, 39, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752; People v. Polk (1964) 61 Cal.2d 217, 230, 37 Cal.Rptr. 753, 390 P.2d 641; People v. Chessman (1959) 5......
  • Alcala v. Superior Court, No. G036911.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 2007
    ...The test in effect during 1977-1979 to test potential prejudice of joined offenses was that enunciated in People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35 at pages 39-41, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752. In Matson, it was held that if the grounds for joinder were met — such as the charges were shown to......
  • People v. Bean, No. S004387
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 19, 1988
    ...under Evidence Code section 1101 7 because additional factors [46 Cal.3d 936] favor joinder. The rule derived from People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35, 41, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752, and Coleman v. Superior Court (1981) 116 Cal.App.3d 129, 138-139, 172 Cal.Rptr. 86, makes this distin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
174 cases
  • People v. Cooks, Cr. 15402
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 25, 1983
    ...Cal.2d 194, 77 Cal.Rptr. 804, 454 P.2d 700; People v. Schader (1969) 71 Cal.2d 761, 80 Cal.Rptr. 1, 457 P.2d 841; People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35, 40, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752; People v. Guerrero (1976) 16 Cal.3d 719, 129 Cal.Rptr. 166, 548 P.2d 366; People v. Thomas, supra, 20 ......
  • People v. Lucky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 16, 1988
    ...together in their commission" when they are, as here, linked by a " 'common element of substantial importance.' " (People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35, 39, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752; People v. Polk (1964) 61 Cal.2d 217, 230, 37 Cal.Rptr. 753, 390 P.2d 641; People v. Chessman (1959) 5......
  • Alcala v. Superior Court, No. G036911.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • February 27, 2007
    ...The test in effect during 1977-1979 to test potential prejudice of joined offenses was that enunciated in People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35 at pages 39-41, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752. In Matson, it was held that if the grounds for joinder were met — such as the charges were shown to......
  • People v. Bean, No. S004387
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 19, 1988
    ...under Evidence Code section 1101 7 because additional factors [46 Cal.3d 936] favor joinder. The rule derived from People v. Matson (1974) 13 Cal.3d 35, 41, 117 Cal.Rptr. 664, 528 P.2d 752, and Coleman v. Superior Court (1981) 116 Cal.App.3d 129, 138-139, 172 Cal.Rptr. 86, makes this distin......
  • 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