People v. Redrick, Cr. 6742

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtSCHAUER; GIBSON
Citation55 Cal.2d 282,359 P.2d 255,10 Cal.Rptr. 823
Parties, 359 P.2d 255 PEOPLE of the State of California, Respondent, v. Johnny T. REDRICK, Appellant.
Docket NumberCr. 6742
Decision Date03 February 1961

Page 823

10 Cal.Rptr. 823
55 Cal.2d 282, 359 P.2d 255
PEOPLE of the State of California, Respondent,
v.
Johnny T. REDRICK, Appellant.
Cr. 6742.
Supreme Court of California, In Bank.
Feb. 3, 1961.

Page 824

[359 P.2d 256] [55 Cal.2d 283] Ellery E. Cuff, Public Defender, James L. McCormick, John M. Moore, and Richard W. Erskine, Deputy Public Defenders, Los Angeles, for appellant.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Ernest E. Sanchez, Deputy Atty. Gen., for respondent.

SCHAUER, Justice.

Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction of unlawfully possessing heroin (Health & Safety Code, § 11500) and from an order denying his motion for new trial. Jury trial was properly waived and by stipulation the [55 Cal.2d 284] cause was submitted on the testimony in the transcript of the preliminary hearing, together with additional testimony of one of the arresting officers. Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to show that he had that knowledge of the presence of the drug which is an essential element of the crime of possession. Although the evidence does not appear very convincing, the question of the persuasive effect of such evidence is not for an appellate court. And we cannot say that the circumstances hereinafter related, as a matter of law, at most give rise to a mere suspicion and do not permit a reasonable inference of guilt. Accordingly, the judgment and order appealed from should be affirmed.

During the month of September, 1959, defendant lived in and managed a rooming house owned by Henry Smith. About 20 or 30 feet from defendant's room, and separated from it by a hall and a community living room, was a storeroom locked with a padlock. The instant prosecution followed the hereinafter described discovery by the police of heroin in this storeroom on September 28, 1959. Concerning this storeroom Smith testified as follows:

Page 825

[359 P.2d 257] 'Q. Mr. Smith, did you use the storeroom from time to time? A. Well, we put rugs and things that was left, in there and that's about all.

'Q. Who else used the storeroom besides yourself? A. Oh, Johnny (defendant) and myself.

'Q. Did anyone else have the key to the storeroom? A. No, just the two of us.'

It further appears, however, that other persons could have had unauthorized access to the storeroom. Smith testified that he kept the only key hanging in his shop, which was in the same block as the rooming house. Here, so far as the evidence shows, the key was available to anyone who might choose to 'borrow' it.

More directly, Smith testified that he had given the key to the defendant from time to time; a 'night or two' or 'three or four days' before September 28 Smith noticed that the key was not in his shop and asked defendant if he has it; defendant 'said Yes * * * and I (Smith) didn't think any more about it.'

At 9:15 a. m. on September 28 Police Officer Hanks knocked at the door of defendant's room, informed defendant that he was an officer, and 'told the defendant that I understood that he was peddling narcotics; he denied that. I asked him if he had any narcotics in his room, and [55 Cal.2d 285] he stated he did not. I then asked him if he would mind if I would search his room, and he stated he would not. And I searched it and found nothing * * *.' Officer Hanks 'asked the defendant if he had a key to (the storeroom) * * * and he stated he did not.'

The officer then went to the nearby place of business of Mr. Smith. He asked Smith for the key and Smith found that 'It was gone.' Smith gave the police permission to force the storeroom lock. In the storeroom Officer Hanks found a folding bed in which was a coin purse containing ten bindles of heroin. At about 10:15 a. m. on the 28th the officer placed defendant under arrest. Defendant 'denied any knowledge of the bindles that I found. He denied having a key. He did state that approximately three weeks ago he had had the key to that storeroom, but did not have it in his presence at this time.'

Officer Grennan testified that after defendant's arrest they had the following conversation: 'I stated to him, 'How come you started fooling with narcotics again, Johnny?' He says, 'Well, when I got out of the joint (a reference to prior convictions and service of a prison term), there wasn't any work to be had, and what could I do? I didn't want to starve; so I went back to fooling with narcotics again.' I further questioned him as to whom he had been scoring (buying) from, and he told he'd been scoring from a fellow by the name of 'Blackburn.' I said, 'How much do you score at (a) time?' And he said, 'Sometimes it varies. Sometimes a half a piece and sometimes a piece (ounce). " In his conversation with Officer Grennan defendant denied that the heroin found in the storeroom was his, and said that he had been in possession of the storeroom key but was not in possession thereof at the time of his arrest.

The People corrctly agree with defendant that to establish unlawful possession of narcotics it must be shown that the accused exercised dominion and control over the drug with knowledge of its presence and narcotic character. (People v. Winston (1956), 46 Cal.2d 151, 158(9, 10), 293 P.2d 40; People v. Gorg (1955), 45 Cal.2d 776, 780(3), 291 P.2d 469; People v. Gory (1946), 28 Cal.2d 450, 454(2), 170 P.2d 433; Matter of Yun Quong (1911), 159 Cal. 508, 515, 114 P. 835.) They further correctly agree that proof of opportunity of access to a place where narcotics are found, without more, will not support a finding of unlawful possession.

The following decisions of District Courts of Appeal are illustrative...

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263 practice notes
  • People v. Upton, Cr. 6276
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 9, 1968
    ...318, 378 P.2d 590.) The cases cited by defendant, such as People v. Winston, 46 Cal.2d 151, 158, 293 P.2d 40; People v. Redrick, 55 Cal.2d 282, 286--287, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d 255; People v. Hancock, 156 Cal.App.2d 305, 309, 319 P.2d 731; and People v. Bledsoe, 75 Cal.App.2d 862, 864, ......
  • People v. Francis, Cr. 12971
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • May 6, 1969
    ...of the drug and its narcotic character. (People v. Groom, Supra, 60 Cal.2d 694, 696, 36 Cal.Rptr. 327, 388 P.2d 359; People v. Redrick, 55 Cal.2d 282, 285, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d 255; People v. Gorg, Supra, 45 Cal.2d 776, 780, 291 P.2d 469.) No sale of narcotics is possible without such......
  • People v. Nudd, Cr. 17295
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • July 31, 1974
    ...82, 75 Cal.Rptr. 208, 450 P.2d 600; People v. Groom (1964) 60 Cal.2d 694, 696, 36 Cal.Rptr. 327, 388 P.2d 359; People v. Redrick (1961) 55 Cal.2d 282, 285, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d Judgment affirmed. WRIGHT, C.J., and McCOMB and BURKE, JJ., concur. MOSK, Justice (dissenting). California h......
  • People v. Shipstead, Cr. 8549
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 8, 1971
    ...substantial evidence to sustain the implied finding that each of the foregoing elements has been established. (People v. Redrick (1961) 55 Cal.2d 282, 289, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d 255; People v. Partin (1967) 254 Cal.App.2d 89, 91--92, 62 Cal.Rptr. 59; and People v. Finn (1963) 232 Cal.A......
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261 cases
  • People v. Zavala, Cr. 5054
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 28, 1966
    ...v. Davis, supra, 231 Cal.App.2d 180, 186, 41 Cal.Rptr. 617; see People v. Winston, 46 Cal.2d 151, 158, 293 P.2d 40; People v. Redrick, 55 Cal.2d 282, 285, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d 255.) Similarly, Miss Jennings' extrajudicial statement was susceptible of the inference that appellant posse......
  • People v. Jaffe, No. H026265.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 10, 2004
    ...access to a place where narcotics are found, without more, will not support a finding of unlawful possession.' (People v. Redrick (1961) 55 Cal.2d 282, 285, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d While the requested instruction stated the general principle about mere access clearly enough, its applicat......
  • People v. Machel, Cr. 4539
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • April 29, 1965
    ...which he was subsequently charged. (People v. Groom (1964) 60 Cal.2d 694, 696, 36 Cal.Rptr. 327, 388 P.2d 359; People v. Redrick (1961) 55 Cal.2d 282, 285, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d 255; People v. Winston, supra, 46 Cal.2d 151, 158, 293 P.2d 40; People v. Gorg (1955) 45 Cal.2d 776, 780, 29......
  • Theodor v. Superior Court
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • September 28, 1972
    ...exercised the dominion and control over the marijuana Page 235 and LSD required for conviction of possession. (People v. Redrick (1961) 55 Cal.2d 282, 10 Cal.Rptr. 823, 359 P.2d Because the discrepancy in the physical description supplied by the informant, the unusual credit arrangement and......
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