People v. Proctor, Cr. 910

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Citation239 P.2d 697,108 Cal.App.2d 739
Decision Date16 January 1952
Docket NumberCr. 910

Edmund G. Brown, Atty. Gen., Frank Richards, Deputy Atty. Gen., James L. Davis, Dist. Atty. of Orange County, and J. Parley Smith, Asst. Dist. Atty., Santa Ana, for appellant.

Head, Jacobs & Corfman, Santa Ana, for respondent.

MUSSELL, Justice.

The defendant Troy Raymond Proctor was accused in an Information filed by the District Attorney of Orange county of the murder of one Dorothy Stewart Schindler. After the filing of the information, the defendant moved that it 'be stricken under Penal Code section 995 on the ground that the defendant was committed without a showing of reasonable or probable cause.' The People appeal from the order of the trial court granting defendant's motion and the only question presented is whether or not the defendant was committed without reasonable or probable cause.

The evidence at the preliminary examination upon which the order of commitment is based is as follows: Roger Burnham, a deputy coroner of Orange county, who was also an embalmer and mortician by profession, testified that as a part of his official duties he had occasion to inquire into the death of one Dorothy Stewart Schindler; that he examined the body and was present when several photographs of it were taken at the mortuary; that he observed the bruises shown in the photographs and that they appeared to be of recent origin; that there was found to be a 'massive subdural hematoma, so-called, or a very enlarged clot in the brain on the left side.'

A certified copy of a death certificate was admitted in evidence, which certificate contained, among other things, the statements that the name of the deceased was Dorothy Stewart Schindler, aged 37; that she was divorced; that she died about 10:00 A.M., August 25, 1951, at 114 22nd Street, Newport Beach, Orange County; that the disease or condition directly leading to death was 'Massive subdural hematoma, left cerebral hemisphere, due to trauma to the head;' that the injury occurred through external violence occurring on '8- 24/25-1951.' The certificate specified that the death was due to homicide. This document was signed by 'E. R. Abbey, coroner, by R. S. Burnham, Deputy, on 8-26-51, by C. Lewis Baltz, embalmer on 8-27-51, and by Edw. Lee Russell, MD IMA, local registrar, on 8-25-51.'

A motorcycle officer, employed by the city of Newport Beach, testified that he went to 114 22nd Street in Newport Beach on August 25, 1951; that he arrived at the apartment house at 10:51 A.M. and went to apartment No. 5, which was the apartment of the defendant Troy Proctor; that he found Dr. Tohill there and that the body of Dorothy Proctor was on the bed in the apartment; that he did not know who she was at that time but that the doctor told him it was Mrs. Proctor. The officer testified that photographs of the body were taken in his presence and that they were true representations of the appearance of the body and the scene at that time. These photographs were admitted in evidence. The officer also testified that he had a conversation with the defendant concerning the body on the bed; that the conversation occurred at about 11:20 that morning, in apartment No. 3 of the same building and that he, the defendant, Henry Goff and Mrs. Gould were present. The officer was asked to relate the conversation and an objection was interposed upon the ground that no corpus delicti had been established. The objection was overruled and the officer then testified as follows: 'I asked Mr. Proctor if he had struck his wife on the night previous and he said that he had. He said he pulled her from a couch to the floor and...

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4 cases
  • Rogers v. Superior Court of Alameda County
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • December 29, 1955
    ...In re Schuber, 68 Cal.App.2d 424, 425, 156 P.2d 944; In re Martinez, 36 Cal.App.2d 687, 689, 98 P.2d 528; see also, People v. Proctor, 108 Cal.App.2d 739, 742, 239 P.2d 697; 7 Cal.Jur., Criminal Law, § 120, p. 984. Accordingly, when prohibition is sought under section 999a of the Penal Code......
  • People v. Holder, Cr. 3570
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • September 29, 1964
    ...and the distinction between fact and medical opinion in connection with evidentiary use of public autopsy records. People v. Proctor, 108 Cal.App.2d 739, 239 P.2d 697, holds that death certificate entries such as 'accidental,' 'suicidal' or 'homicidal' 'amount only to an opinion or conclusi......
  • Romero v. Volunteer State Life Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • August 14, 1970
    ...'Accident.' Defendant challenges this entry as a mere conclusion or opinion, and not the statement of a fact. Cited is People v. Proctor, 108 Cal.App.2d 739, 239 P.2d 697, and, more recently, MCCLAFLIN V. BAYSHORE EQUIPMENT RENTAL CO., 274 CAL.APP.2D 446, 79 CAL.RPTR. 337.A The latter decis......
  • People v. Head, Cr. 763
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 16, 1952

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