People v. McDaniel, Cr. 18899

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtWRIGHT
Citation16 Cal.3d 156,127 Cal.Rptr. 467,545 P.2d 843
Parties, 545 P.2d 843 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. John Jacob McDANIEL, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberCr. 18899
Decision Date11 February 1976

Page 467

127 Cal.Rptr. 467
16 Cal.3d 156, 545 P.2d 843
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
John Jacob McDANIEL, Defendant and Appellant.
Cr. 18899.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Feb. 11, 1976.

[16 Cal.3d 162]

Page 470

[545 P.2d 846] Ira S. Blatt, Arcata, under appointment by the Supreme Court, and John Jacob McDaniel, in pro. per., for defendant and appellant.

Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen., Jack R. Winkler, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Arnold O. Overoye, Marjory Winston Parker and Paul H. Dobson, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

WRIGHT, Chief Justice.

John Jacob McDaniel appeals from a judgment following a jury conviction of assault with intent to commit murder (Pen.Code, § 217) and a court conviction of carrying a concealed weapon within a vehicle after having previously been convicted of a felony (Pen.Code, § 12025). Defendant's pretrial motion to sever the two charges for trial purposes was granted and defendant waived trial by jury as to the concealed weapon charge.

Defendant, who has been represented by counsel throughout the trials and on this appeal, made numerous pretrial motions including motions to proceed in propria persona, to act as co-counsel and to participate in final argument. 1 All such motions were denied pursuant to the then prevailing rule that an accused was without a constitutional right to represent himself against a criminal charge. (People v. Sharp (1972), 7 Cal.3d 448, 103 Cal.Rptr. 233, 499 P.2d 489.) While this appeal was pending, however, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the denial of the right of self-representation was impermissible under Sixth Amendment mandates. (Faretta v. California (1975), 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 [16 Cal.3d 163] L.Ed.2d 562.) We conclude that the Faretta decision is not to be given retroactive application, and as defendant's other contentions on appeal are not meritorious we affirm the judgment.

The evidence connecting defendant to the charge of assault with intent to commit murder is mainly circumstantial. He was a recent arrival in the Town of Happy Camp. As he sat in his car outside a tavern on a Friday evening, he witnessed a beating administered upon Priscilla Spence by Dale Attebury. Priscilla had lived with Attebury for five years and they had two children. Defendant offered to intervene on Priscilla's behalf but was cautioned by Virgil Doolittle that the altercation was a 'family matter' and that defendant should not get involved. Attebury and Priscilla eventually reached an apparent understanding and returned to the tavern.

Page 471

[545 P.2d 847] After the tavern closed for the evening Priscilla and Attebury entered the latter's car and, when they could not get it started, defendant assisted them. Later that evening he atteded a party at Priscilla's apartment, also attended by Attebury and Doolittle. On two occasions during the following Saturday and Sunday defendant returned to Priscilla's apartment. On one occasion she gave him directions to a house trailer where Attebury lived. On another occasion he mentioned the beating which had been inflicted upon her by Attebury, asked whether she wished to get rid of him, and told her that if she were so inclined it would cost her nothing if she would 'keep (her) mouth shut.' Priscilla declined defendant's offer.

On Sunday defendant visited Attebury's house trailer and for several hours drank beer with him and Doolittle. During this time defendant asked what nearby places could be 'hit,' and stated that he carried explosives and tools in his car and could 'knock a bank over.' After all three men left the house trailer Attebury and Doolittle drove about in Attebury's car while they continued to drink beer. Finally, early on Monday morning, the car ran out of gasoline and the two men spent the remainder of that night in the car. On Sunday evening defendant visited Priscilla's apartment again for the purpose of borrowing a clothespin.

On Monday morning Doolittle and Attebury returned to the house trailer. Doolittle, with Attebury a few feet to the rear, first opened a heavy outside door of the trailer and as he began to open an inner screen [16 Cal.3d 164] door the trailer exploded from within. Both men were severely injured. 2 Just after the explosion Attebury saw on the adjoining roadway a car of the same green color as defendant's car with a driver wearing a cowboy hat similar to a hat worn by defendant. Such a car and driver were also seen by Priscilla's daughter as it passed Priscilla's apartment shortly after the explosion. The butane tanks which serviced the house trailer were intact after the explosion and there was a sharp odor of dynamite in the immediate vicinity.

Defendant was arrested in his car about 41 miles from the scene of, and 3 1/2 hours after, the explosion. The car was seized and sealed by arresting officers and later was searched pursuant to a warrant therefor. An investigator, qualified as an expert witness, testified that an explosive charge had been placed inside the screen door and triggered with a pull-type device attached to the door. Traces of dynamite were found in debris at the scene of the explosion and on two pairs of gloves and debris found in defendant's car. A clothespin was also found in defendant's car. During the trial the court permitted the expert to demonstrate a model bomb which incorporated a clothespin as part of a triggering device.

The charge of carrying a concealed weapon in his vehicle is supported by evidence that defendant exhibited a small blue metal gun to Doolittle while the latter sat in defendant's automobile on the Friday preceding the explosion. Defendant removed the gun from and returned it to the glove compartment. The gun, a loaded, operable .38 caliber revolver, was found in the glove compartment after defendant's apprehension and during the search of the vehicle pursuant to the warrant. It also appears that defendant had been convicted in the State of Wyoming of burglary in 1961 and had served a term in the state prison of that state.

Right of Self-Representation

We first consider defendant's right of self-representation. Such a right is now compelled pursuant to the majority of the Supreme Court's construction of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Faretta v. California,supra, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562.) It is clear, however, that the rule announced for the

Page 472

[545 P.2d 848] first time in Faretta is not one which followed from constitutional concepts directed to according to an accused protections designed to aid in the search for truth or to insure the integrity of the fact-finding process. The majority recognize that the 'right of an accused [16 Cal.3d 165] to conduct his own defense seems to cut against the grain of this Court's decisions holding that the Constitution requires that no accused can be convicted and imprisoned unless he has been accoreded the right to the assistance of counsel. (Citations.) For it is surely true that the basic thesis of those decisions is that the help of a lawyer is essential to insure the defendant a fair trial. . . . It is undeniable that in most criminal prosecutions defendants could better defend with counsel's guidance than by their own unskilled efforts.' (Faretta v. California, supra, 422 U.S. 806, 832--834, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 2540, 45 L.Ed.2d 562.)

Notwithstanding the prejudice which an accused may suffer upon self-representation, the right to so penalize himself was deemed by the majority to be grounded on other considerations directed more to the assertion of personal liberties than to the assertion of an effective defense. The majority thus state: 'To force a lawyer on a defendant can only lead him to believe that the law contrives against him. . . . The right to defend is personal. The defendant, and not his lawyer or the State, will bear the personal consequences of a conviction. It is the defendant, therefore, who must be free personally to decide whether in his particular case counsel is to his advantage. And although he may conduct his own defense ultimately to his own detriment, his choice must be honored out of 'that respect for the individual which is the life blood of the law.' (Citation.)' (Id., at p. 834, 95 S.Ct. at p. 2540.)

It is necessary that we recognize the basis for the declared right of self-representation as the retroactive-prospective applicability of the rule depends in part on that basis. The trials in the instant case were completed more than a year in advance of the decision in Faretta, and we are thus faced with the question whether the decision must be applied retroactively or only prospectively to those trials which commenced after the date of the filing of the opinion in Faretta. Faretta makes no express declaration as to its applicability. However, cases following Linkletter v. Walker (1965) 381 U.S. 618, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601, have established criteria which govern whether the Supreme Court's constitutional decisions are to be given retroactive application. (See Desist v. United States (1969) 394 U.S. 244, 249, 89 S.Ct. 1030, 22 L.Ed.2d 248; Stovall v. Denno (1967) 388 U.S. 293, 297, 87 S.Ct. 1967, 18 L.Ed.2d 1199; Johnson v. New Jersey (1966) 384 U.S. 719, 86 S.Ct. 1772, 16 L.Ed.2d 882; Tehan v. U.S. ex rel. Shott (1966) 382 U.S. 406, 86 S.Ct. 459, 15 L.Ed.2d 453.) In Halliday v. United States (1969) 394 U.S. 831, 89 S.Ct. 1498, 23 L.Ed.2d 16, the court stated the criteria as being: '(1) the purpose of the new rule; (2) the extent of reliance upon the old [16 Cal.3d 166] rule; and (3) the effect retroactive application would have upon the administration of justice.' (Id., at p. 832, 89 S.Ct. at 1499.) The determination of whether a rule is to be given retroactive application is generally made pursuant to a balancing process, wherein the gain to be achieved in the administration of justice by accomplishment of the purpose of the new rule (the first creterion) is...

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179 practice notes
  • People v. Sassounian
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 30, 1986
    ...is of such [182 Cal.App.3d 397] a nature that it could not have been cured by a proper and timely admonition." (People v. McDaniel (1976) 16 Cal.3d 156, 176, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 547 P.2d 843.) As an examination of the evidence will show, there was nothing "close" about this case and defendan......
  • State v. Carney, No. 68168–1–I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • December 16, 2013
    ...Faretta was not to enhance the fact-finding process strongly suggests the rule should not be made retroactive.”); People v. McDaniel, 16 Cal.3d 156, 166, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 545 P.2d 843 (1976) (purpose of Faretta rule is not “to enhance the reliability of the truth-determining or fact-findi......
  • People v. Panah, No. S045504.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 14, 2005
    ...to risk linking someone else to the crime. The prosecutor's argument was a proper rebuttal to these claims. (People v. McDaniel (1976) 16 Cal.3d 156, 177, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 545 P.2d 843; see also People v. Wash (1993) 6 Cal.4th 215, 263, 24 Cal.Rptr.2d 421, 861 P.2d 1107, quoting People v.......
  • People v. Sandoval, No. S004765
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 14, 1992
    ...would otherwise be improper, when such comments are fairly responsive to the argument of defense counsel. (See People v. McDaniel (1976) 16 Cal.3d 156, 177, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 545 P.2d 843 and People v. Hill (1967) 66 Cal.2d 536, 560, 58 Cal.Rptr. 340, 426 P.2d 908; see also United States v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
181 cases
  • People v. Sassounian
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 30, 1986
    ...is of such [182 Cal.App.3d 397] a nature that it could not have been cured by a proper and timely admonition." (People v. McDaniel (1976) 16 Cal.3d 156, 176, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 547 P.2d 843.) As an examination of the evidence will show, there was nothing "close" about this case and defendan......
  • State v. Carney, No. 68168–1–I.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • December 16, 2013
    ...Faretta was not to enhance the fact-finding process strongly suggests the rule should not be made retroactive.”); People v. McDaniel, 16 Cal.3d 156, 166, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 545 P.2d 843 (1976) (purpose of Faretta rule is not “to enhance the reliability of the truth-determining or fact-findi......
  • People v. Panah, No. S045504.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 14, 2005
    ...to risk linking someone else to the crime. The prosecutor's argument was a proper rebuttal to these claims. (People v. McDaniel (1976) 16 Cal.3d 156, 177, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 545 P.2d 843; see also People v. Wash (1993) 6 Cal.4th 215, 263, 24 Cal.Rptr.2d 421, 861 P.2d 1107, quoting People v.......
  • People v. Sandoval, No. S004765
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 14, 1992
    ...would otherwise be improper, when such comments are fairly responsive to the argument of defense counsel. (See People v. McDaniel (1976) 16 Cal.3d 156, 177, 127 Cal.Rptr. 467, 545 P.2d 843 and People v. Hill (1967) 66 Cal.2d 536, 560, 58 Cal.Rptr. 340, 426 P.2d 908; see also United States v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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