People v. Medina, No. S004758

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtLUCAS; MOSK; BROUSSARD
Citation274 Cal.Rptr. 849,51 Cal.3d 870
Parties, 799 P.2d 1282, 59 USLW 2360 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Teofilo MEDINA, Jr., Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date19 November 1990
Docket NumberNo. S004758

Page 849

274 Cal.Rptr. 849
51 Cal.3d 870, 799 P.2d 1282, 59 USLW 2360
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Teofilo MEDINA, Jr., Defendant and Appellant.
No. S004758.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Nov. 19, 1990.
Rehearing Denied Feb. 14, 1991.

Page 854

[51 Cal.3d 878] [799 P.2d 1287] Fern M. Laetham, State Public Defender, under appointment by the Supreme Court, Michael Pescetta and Sarah Plotkin, Deputy State Public Defenders, San Francisco, for defendant and appellant.

John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Richard B. Iglehart, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Harley D. Mayfield, Asst. Atty. Gen., Frederick R. Millar, Jr., Pat Zaharopoulos and Jay M. Bloom, Deputy Attys. Gen., San Diego, for plaintiff and respondent.

LUCAS, Chief Justice.

Defendant Teofilo Medina, Jr., appeals from a judgment imposing the death penalty following his conviction of three counts of first degree murder (Pen.Code, § 187; all further statutory references are to this code unless otherwise indicated), accompanied by three special [51 Cal.3d 879] circumstance findings, namely, robbery-murder (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(i)), burglary-murder (id., subd. (a)(17)(vii)), and multiple murder (id., subd. (a)(3)). Additionally, defendant was convicted of several counts of robbery (§ 211), second degree burglary (§ 459), false imprisonment (§ 236), assault with a deadly weapon (§ 245, subd. (a)(2)), and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon (§§ 12021, 12021.1).

The jury found that the three murders were premeditated and deliberate, and that defendant was sane at the time of the offenses. The jury returned a verdict of death, and the trial court denied defendant's motion to modify the sentence (§ 190.4, subd. (e)). The court imposed the death penalty for the three murders, and a determinate nineteen-year, four-month sentence for the other offenses. Defendant's appeal is automatic. (§ 1239, subd. (b).) Subsequent to the filing of this appeal, defendant filed a habeas corpus petition which we denied without issuing an order to show cause.

I. FACTS

A. The Offenses

From October 13 to November 7, 1984, defendant engaged in a crime spree, stealing a gun from a pawnshop, holding up two gas stations, a drive-in dairy, and a market, killing three employees of these establishments (Horacio Ariza, Douglas Metal and Victor Rea), attempting to rob a fourth employee (Moon Yoon), and shooting at two citizens (Cynthia Police and Daniel Barrow) who attempted to follow his getaway car.

Defendant was apprehended after police traced his car to his residence. Police

Page 855

[799 P.2d 1288] found a gun in defendant's home that, according to prosecution experts, was used to fire the bullets found in the three murder victims. Although other family members lived with defendant, the testimony of his two sisters indicated the gun belonged to him.

Defendant challenged some of the circumstantial evidence linking him to the crimes, but (other than asserting an insanity defense) he neither denied his guilt nor offered any alibi defense.

B. Competency Phase

Prior to trial, defendant moved for a competency hearing (§ 1368), claiming his present inability to cooperate with counsel. At the hearing, in addition to lay witnesses, various psychiatrists and other experts testified about defendant's possible paranoid schizophrenia, his violent and aberrant behavior, his attempted suicide, and his inability to cooperate with counsel.

[51 Cal.3d 880] Dr. Gold, a psychiatrist who knew defendant while he was in the Arizona prison system, testified that defendant was a paranoid schizophrenic and was incompetent to assist his attorney at trial. Dr. Echeandia, a clinical psychologist at the Orange County jail, doubted the accuracy of the schizophrenia diagnosis, and could not express an opinion on defendant's competence to stand trial. Dr. Sharma, a psychiatrist, likewise expressed doubts regarding the schizophrenia diagnosis and leaned toward a finding of competence. Dr. Pierce, a psychologist, believed defendant was schizophrenic, with impaired memory and hallucinations, but nevertheless was competent to stand trial. Dr. Sakurai, a jail psychiatrist, opined that although defendant suffered from depression, he was competent, and that he may have been malingering. Dr. Sheffield, who treated defendant for knife wounds he incurred in jail, could give no opinion on the competency issue.

At the conclusion of the competency hearing, the jury found defendant competent to stand trial.

C. Sanity Phase

At the sanity phase, Dr. Gold stated his opinion that defendant was a paranoid schizophrenic who was not guilty of the charged offenses by reason of insanity. Dr. Pierce concluded that although he believed defendant suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, he lacked data from which he might deduce defendant was insane when the offenses occurred. Dr. Sharma agreed that, whether or not defendant was schizophrenic, there was insufficient evidence suggesting he was insane during the offenses. Finally, Dr. Klatte, a psychiatrist, found no evidence of any mental disturbance that might have precluded defendant from knowing the nature of his acts or their wrongfulness.

Defendant took the stand during the sanity phase and testified (along with other lay witnesses) about his background, including his prior offenses and convictions, prison terms, drug use, violent and aberrant behavior, attempted suicide, confinement in a state mental hospital, and attempted escape therefrom. According to defendant, he could not recall shooting the victims, although he remembered being chased by Cynthia Police and shooting over her head.

The jury found defendant was legally sane at the time of the offenses.

D. Penalty Phase

The prosecution introduced evidence of defendant's prior violent acts, including his murder of another gas station attendant (Martin) during a [51 Cal.3d 881] robbery, assault on a man (Sanchez) in a bar, assault on a prison inmate (Hillyer), and rape (Whitacre). The defense relied on mitigating testimony from Drs. Pierce, Sharma, Sakuri, and Klatte regarding defendant's mental impairment, personality disorder and low intelligence. Defendant's father testified regarding defendant's childhood injury, glue sniffing, and unusual behavior (on one occasion, defendant attempted to pull out his own eyelashes).

II. COMPETENCY PHASE CONTENTIONS

A. Validity of Section 1369, Subdivision (f)

Defendant first contends that section 1369, by placing the burden on him to

Page 856

[799 P.2d 1289] prove his incompetence to stand trial, is unconstitutional as a denial of due process and equal protection under the state and federal Constitutions. (In fact, none of defendant's authorities involves or discusses equal protection concerns, and he makes no separate argument on the point. Accordingly, we conclude that his argument is essentially a due process challenge to the statutory burden allocation.)

Section 1369, subdivision (f), provides in pertinent part that "It shall be presumed that the defendant is mentally competent unless it is proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is mentally incompetent. The verdict of the jury shall be unanimous." The jury was instructed in accordance with this provision. (CALJIC No. 4.10.)

Before addressing defendant's challenge, we set forth the relevant legal principles. Section 1368, subdivision (a), provides that if "a doubt arises in the mind of the judge as to the mental competence of the defendant," the court shall inquire of defense counsel regarding the defendant's competence and, if counsel believes defendant may be incompetent, the court shall order a hearing on the matter. The section further provides that even if defense counsel believes his client is competent, the court may, in its discretion, order a competency hearing. (§ 1368, subd. (b).) Once the hearing is ordered, "all proceedings in the criminal prosecution shall be suspended until the question of the present mental competence of the defendant has been determined." (Id., subd. (c).)

It has long been established that the conviction of an accused while he is legally incompetent violates due process. (Pate v. Robinson (1966) 383 U.S. 375, 385, 86 S.Ct. 836, 842, 15 L.Ed.2d 815.) Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has held that the failure of a trial court to employ procedures to protect against trial of an incompetent defendant deprives him of his due process right to a fair trial and requires reversal of his [51 Cal.3d 882] conviction. (Ibid.; see Drope v. Missouri (1975) 420 U.S. 162, 171, 95 S.Ct. 896, 903, 43 L.Ed.2d 103.) Our decisions hold that a competency hearing is required whenever substantial evidence of the accused's incompetence has been introduced. (People v. Hale (1988) 44 Cal.3d 531, 538-539, 244 Cal.Rptr. 114, 749 P.2d 769; People v. Stankewitz (1982) 32 Cal.3d 80, 91-92, 184 Cal.Rptr. 611, 648 P.2d 578; People v. Laudermilk (1967) 67 Cal.2d 272, 283, 61 Cal.Rptr. 644, 431 P.2d 228.)

Defendant argues that because fitness to stand trial is fundamental to an adversary system of justice (Drope v. Missouri, supra, 420 U.S. 162, 171-172, 95 S.Ct. 896, 903-904), due process dictates that once the defendant has raised a bona fide doubt as to his competence, the state must carry the burden of proving him competent. Accordingly, defendant argues, section 1369 and its contrary allocation of the proof burden should be declared unconstitutional.

The validity of section 1369, its presumption of competence and burden of proof allocation, apparently has never been discussed in a published opinion. (Cf. People v. Bye (1981) 116 Cal.App.3d 569, 573-578, 172 Cal.Rptr. 186 [constitutional to permit prosecution to establish defendant's incompetence by mere preponderance of evidence]; People v. Eckstrom (1977) 71 Cal.App.3d 259, 261-262, 139 Cal.Rptr. 341 [constitutional to require defendant to prove his insanity ].) The cases from other state and federal jurisdictions are...

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  • People v. Mayfield, No. S005620
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 2, 1997
    ...405, 3 Cal.Rptr.2d 106, 821 P.2d 610; People v. Breaux (1991) 1 Cal.4th 281, 307, 3 Cal.Rptr.2d 81, 821 P.2d 585; People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 903, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282.) We decline defendant's invitation that we reconsider our conclusion on this issue. Here, the recor......
  • People v. Cooper, No. S004687
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 6, 1991
    ...The reasons that caused us to adopt Trombetta in Johnson apply also to Youngblood. (See People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 894, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282 [in which we implicitly followed Youngblood Defendant's due process contentions fail under both Trombetta and Youngblood. Alth......
  • People v. Martinez, No. S032832.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 18, 2003
    ...110 Cal.Rptr.2d 272, 28 P.3d 34; People v. Box, supra, 23 Cal.4th at p. 1217, 99 Cal. Rptr.2d 69, 5 P.3d 130; People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 909, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282.) Defendant cites People v. Hardy (1992) 2 Cal.4th 86, 5 Cal. Rptr.2d 796, 825 P.2d 781, to support his ......
  • People v. Tuilaepa, No. S004786
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 28, 1992
    ...53 Cal.3d 618, 652, 280 Cal.Rptr. 692, 809 P.2d 351 [defendant's handcuffs and leg braces not seen by jury]; People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 897-898, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282 [same]; see also People v. Allen (1986) 42 Cal.3d 1222, 1264, 232 Cal.Rptr. 849, 729 P.2d 115 [shackl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
397 cases
  • People v. Mayfield, No. S005620
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 2, 1997
    ...405, 3 Cal.Rptr.2d 106, 821 P.2d 610; People v. Breaux (1991) 1 Cal.4th 281, 307, 3 Cal.Rptr.2d 81, 821 P.2d 585; People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 903, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282.) We decline defendant's invitation that we reconsider our conclusion on this issue. Here, the recor......
  • People v. Cooper, No. S004687
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 6, 1991
    ...The reasons that caused us to adopt Trombetta in Johnson apply also to Youngblood. (See People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 894, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282 [in which we implicitly followed Youngblood Defendant's due process contentions fail under both Trombetta and Youngblood. Alth......
  • People v. Martinez, No. S032832.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 18, 2003
    ...110 Cal.Rptr.2d 272, 28 P.3d 34; People v. Box, supra, 23 Cal.4th at p. 1217, 99 Cal. Rptr.2d 69, 5 P.3d 130; People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 909, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282.) Defendant cites People v. Hardy (1992) 2 Cal.4th 86, 5 Cal. Rptr.2d 796, 825 P.2d 781, to support his ......
  • People v. Tuilaepa, No. S004786
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 28, 1992
    ...53 Cal.3d 618, 652, 280 Cal.Rptr. 692, 809 P.2d 351 [defendant's handcuffs and leg braces not seen by jury]; People v. Medina (1990) 51 Cal.3d 870, 897-898, 274 Cal.Rptr. 849, 799 P.2d 1282 [same]; see also People v. Allen (1986) 42 Cal.3d 1222, 1264, 232 Cal.Rptr. 849, 729 P.2d 115 [shackl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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