People v. Miranda

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation44 Cal.3d 57,744 P.2d 1127,241 Cal.Rptr. 594
Decision Date12 November 1987
Parties, 744 P.2d 1127 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Adam MIRANDA, Defendant and Appellant. In re Adam MIRANDA on Habeas Corpus. Crim. 22787, Crim. 25350.

Page 594

241 Cal.Rptr. 594
44 Cal.3d 57, 744 P.2d 1127
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
Adam MIRANDA, Defendant and Appellant.
In re Adam MIRANDA on Habeas Corpus.
Crim. 22787, Crim. 25350.
Supreme Court of California,
In Bank.
Nov. 12, 1987.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing Jan. 7, 1988.

[44 Cal.3d 70]

Page 601

[744 P.2d 1134] William J. Owens, Albert W. Brodie, Sacramento, for appellant and petitioner.

Frederick Grab, Deputy Atty. Gen., Los Angeles, for plaintiff and respondent.

PANELLI, Justice.

Defendant Adam Miranda was convicted of (count I) first degree murder of Gary Black (Pen.Code, § 187) 1 with findings that he was armed with a firearm (§ 12022, subd. (a)) and used a firearm (§§ 12022.5, 1203.06, subd. (a)(1)); (count II) assault with intent to commit murder of Kelly Chandler (former § 217) with findings that he was armed with a firearm (§ 12022, subd. (a)), used a firearm (§§ 12022.5, 1203.06, subd. (a)(1)) and inflicted great bodily injury (§ 12022.7); and (count III) first degree burglary (§§ 459, 460) with findings that he was armed with a firearm (§ 12022, subd. (a)), used a firearm (§§ 12022.5, 1203.06, subd. (a)(1)), and inflicted great bodily injury (§ 12022.7). He was acquitted of (count IV) robbery (§ 211). A special circumstance allegation under the 1978 death penalty law was found true: that the murder was committed while defendant was engaged in the attempted commission of a robbery. [44 Cal.3d 71] (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(17)(i).) The jury additionally made special findings that the killing of Gary Black was wilful, deliberate and premeditated and that the killing occurred as a result of the attempt to commit the crime of robbery. The jury fixed the punishment at death; the appeal is automatic. (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 11; § 1239, subd. (b).)

We have ordered consolidated with the appeal a petition for habeas corpus in which defendant raises a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. As explained hereafter, we deny defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus and affirm the judgment.



1. Prosecution Case

a) Counts I-III

On September 27, 1980, at approximately 2 a.m., defendant and codefendant Arnold Gonzales entered a 7-Eleven store on Eagle Rock Boulevard in Los Angeles. One of the men asked Christopher Bencomo, the store clerk, if he could buy beer. Bencomo replied that he could not sell beer because it was after 2 a.m. but that they could try at the AM-PM mini-market down the street. Defendant then asked Bencomo, "If I was to rob you would you give me your money?" Bencomo replied, "Sure." Defendant then reached to his belt, lifted one side of his sweatshirt, and grabbed a handle of something. Bencomo took a step to the side and said, "You don't want to do that because there's somebody in the back with a shotgun that will blow your head off." Defendant replied, "thanks for the information," and the two men immediately left the store.

Several minutes later, defendant and Gonzales entered the AM-PM mini-market located a couple of blocks from the 7-Eleven store. Gary Black and Kelly Chandler were working behind the counter and Donna Navarro was paying for gas. After Navarro went outside to fill her gas tank, one of the men asked Chandler whether he

Page 602

could buy beer. Chandler told him it was too late because it was after 2 a.m. Gonzales then asked to buy a pack of cigarettes and handed Chandler a dollar. As Chandler was giving Gonzales his change, [744 P.2d 1135] he noticed defendant pointing a gun at him. Defendant stated, "This is a hold up ... put all the money in a brown paper bag." Black replied, "Okay."

[44 Cal.3d 72] Chandler turned and looked at Gary Black. He then saw Gonzales look in the direction of the TV screen. The store had an audio tape system that recorded activities in the market and also displayed a picture of those activities at the scene. A microphone picked up the sound.

Immediately thereafter, there was a gunshot and Chandler started yelling and screaming. Chandler noticed Gary Black was shot and was down. Gonzales then grabbed the back of defendant's shirt and tried to get him to leave the store. Gonzales said, "Shoot him, shoot him" as he was turning to leave. Defendant then fired two shots at Chandler and fled from the store. Chandler crawled to the phone, dialed the operator and reported the shooting.

Navarro testified that while putting gas in her car she heard a shot, some screaming and a few more shots. She first observed Gonzales walking out of the store "kind of fast." She then saw defendant following him and putting something in his waistband. Navarro told the police she recognized defendant since she had attended junior high school with him. She was absolutely certain of her identification of defendant.

No money was taken during the incident. Gary Black died as a result of the shooting. Chandler suffered physical injuries for which he was twice hospitalized and later spent 10 days in a mental hospital as a result of emotional trauma. Chandler testified at trial as an eyewitness to the robbery-murder.

On October 3, 1980, Police Sergeant Wynn and several other officers went to a bowling alley on Eagle Rock Boulevard for the purpose of arresting defendant for the murder of Gary Black. When the officers informed defendant he was under arrest, defendant denied his identity and stated his name was Jose Diaz. Defendant then tried to strike an officer and started to run. A struggle ensued between that officer and defendant. During the struggle defendant attempted to put his hand in his right front pants pocket.

When the officers gained control over defendant, they handcuffed him and took him outside. During a search of his person, an officer removed a handgun from defendant's right front pocket containing five live rounds of ammunition. The officer also found a pocketknife.

During a subsequent search at the police station, an unsealed envelope was discovered in defendant's right rear pants pocket. The officers opened the envelope and found a letter, which was written by defendant to his mother and contained incriminating statements.

[44 Cal.3d 73] After being informed of his Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, 86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694), defendant talked with Officer Kilgore for approximately two and one-half hours. Defendant told the officer he was with his girlfriend the night of the incident at the mini-market. When Officer Kilgore showed defendant the mini-market videotape, defendant "laughed" and said "Is that supposed to be me?" He said that he had written the letter found by officers to his mother and that it was a "joke."

Following the questioning, Officer Kilgore placed defendant in a jail cell adjacent to the cell of Gonzales. Both cells contained hidden microphones for purposes of monitoring and taping the conversations between the two men. These tapes were played for the jury at trial. The prosecution additionally introduced a videotape and soundtrack taken at the time of the mini-market shooting and a video tape of the events which occurred minutes before at the 7-Eleven store.

b) Count IV

Perry McKay, owner of the New York Cafe, testified that on July 24, 1980, at

Page 603

approximately 9 a.m. he was in the storage area of the restaurant when three armed men, one of whom he identified as defendant, appeared at the door. The armed men ordered everyone to lie down on the floor [744 P.2d 1136] and then forced McKay to open the safe. They took approximately $4,000 from the safe and also took McKay's wallet. McKay testified he recognized defendant the day of the robbery because he had previously seen defendant around the restaurant on numerous occasions. On one occasion McKay discovered defendant in the hallway during closing hours and when he confronted defendant, defendant replied, "I just want to get cigarettes."

2. Defense Case

Testifying in his own defense, defendant gave the following account of the shooting. On the night of September 27, 1980, he had been at the All Star Bowling Alley. A number of people had chipped in to buy a "few cases of beer." He and Gonzales then went to the 7-Eleven store on Eagle Rock Boulevard. When they arrived, defendant asked the clerk, Bencomo, to sell him some beer. Bencomo told him it was too late. Defendant then asked Bencomo if he would sell him some beer if he was a relative. He also asked Bencomo if he would give him money if he was a relative. Bencomo replied, "Sure." Defendant denied posing a hypothetical question concerning a robbery and denied that Bencomo told him there was a person with a shotgun in the store.

[44 Cal.3d 74] After leaving the 7-Eleven store, defendant and Gonzales went to the AM-PM mini-market down the street. When they arrived, defendant went to the counter and asked Chandler to sell him some beer. Chandler refused. Defendant asked again, saying he had money and it was only five minutes after two. Chandler again said no and was rude. Gonzales then purchased cigarettes and Chandler gave him change. Defendant repeated his request to buy beer and Chandler again turned him down. Defendant then pulled out a gun and stated, "Then give me your money."

Defendant testified that, at this point he was not intending to rob the store and that he did not remember what his intention was but he "was just mad" at Chandler for being rude. Chandler then stepped back, crossed his hands and said, "shoot me." 2 Defendant shot him twice. 3 Out of the corner of his eye defendant saw Gary Black move; he fired a shot at Black. Defendant testified he shot Black because "he got up too fast." Defendant stated, "I just moved the gun out of instinct toward him ... when he [Black] up and moved toward my way the gun automatically just moved and it went off. It wasn't no time to point or nothing."

Defendant denied he intended to kill either man, rob the store, or use the gun. Defendant had been drinking and smoking...

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