People v. Talley, Cr. 10154

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Citation56 Cal.Rptr. 492,65 Cal.2d 830,423 P.2d 564
Decision Date17 February 1967
Docket NumberCr. 10154
Parties, 423 P.2d 564 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Curtis Franklin TALLEY and Elwood Talley, Jr., Defendants and Appellants.

Page 492

56 Cal.Rptr. 492
65 Cal.2d 830, 423 P.2d 564
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
Curtis Franklin TALLEY and Elwood Talley, Jr., Defendants and Appellants.
Cr. 10154.
Supreme Court of California, In Bank.
Feb. 17, 1967.
As Modified on Denial of Rehearing April 12, 1967.

Page 494

[65 Cal.2d 832] [423 P.2d 566] Erling J. Hovden, Public Defender, Edward B. Olsen and James L. McCormick, Deputy Public Defenders, for defendants and respondents.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., William E. James, Asst. Atty. Gen., and Harvey D. Unrot, Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

BURKE, Justice.

Curtis Franklin Talley and Elwood Talley, Jr., were charged with two counts of burglary (Pen.Code, § 459). The public defender was appointed to represent them. A jury trial was waived, and the matter was submitted on the [65 Cal.2d 833] preliminary hearing transcript with the right reserved to offer additional evidence. The court found each defendant guilty on each count. A motion for a new trial was denied, and defendants appeal from the judgments of conviction.

Page 495

[423 P.2d 567] They contend that evidence obtained in an unlawful search and statements inadmissible under Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 84 S.Ct. 1758, 12 L.Ed.2d 977, were improperly admitted at their trial. We have concluded that the search was lawful, that it was error to admit the statements, and that the error was prejudicial as to Curtis on both counts but was harmless as to Elwood.

On March 24, 1964, Otto Giljohann locked the doors to his clothing store in Long Beach. The next day he found a door to the store open and merchandise missing.

On March 30, 1964, Los Angeles Police Officer Garrahan was told by an informant that defendants had been involved in many burglaries in the Long Beach area and "were taking TVs, men's watches and clothing"; that Elwood lived at 8507 Hooper Avenue, and that defendants often took the loot to this address and left it overnight before getting rid of it the next morning. Another informant told Garrahan that defendants were committing burglaries in places outside of Long Beach. Garrahan related to the information he received to Long Beach Police Officer Morrill.

On April 4, 1964, Olympia Meyer locked the doors to her dress shop in Long Beach. When she returned on April 6, 1964, she found the lock to a door broken and merchandise gone. About 4 a.m. on April 6, 1964, Robert Tondee, who lived next door to the dress shop, heard noises from the direction of the dress shop and on looking outside saw two men in a Plymouth, who then drove away. About a half hour later Tondee again heard the same noises. He looked out and saw the same Plymouth, and the cover of its trunk compartment was up. When a police car drove by, Tondee observed the two men in the Plymouth fall down in the seat. As the Plymouth drove off he took down the license number. Police officers came to Tondee's residence about 4:30 or 5 that morning, and he gave them the license number.

The license number belonged to a Plymouth registered to Gilbert Pippins, who lived in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Police Officer Wetzel received a call that the Plymouth and two male Negroes had been seen by someone in Long Beach and were wanted by the police department in Long Beach in connection with a burglary in that city, and about 5 a.m. on April 6, [65 Cal.2d 834] 1964, Wetzel and another officer went to Pippins' home. They did not see the Plymouth there and departed for a few minutes. Upon returning they saw the Plymouth parked in front of Pippins' home. They called another police unit to meet them, and about 6 a.m., while awaiting its arrival, they saw Curtis, Pippins, and a girl leave the house and get into the Plymouth. The officers approached them and asked where the car had been. Pippins stated at first in Curtis' presence that as far as Pippins knew the car had been in front of his home all night but upon being questioned further outside of Curtis' presence Pippins stated that he had loaned the car to Curtis and that Curtis had just returned it. Curtis and Pippins were arrested at this time. A search of the Plymouth revealed no stolen property.

On April 8, 1964, Long Beach Police Officers Morrill, Harmon, and Bauer, who did not have an arrest or search warrant, went to Elwood's house at 8507 1/2 South Hooper Avenue in Los Angeles to arrest him. A few minutes before leaving their station, Morrill had been informed by Los Angeles Police Officer Garrahan that "clothing from our burglary and a large pry tool that we were seeking were in that residence." (The record does not show the source of Garrahan's information.)

On arriving at Elwood's home Morrill went to the front door and knocked. Harmon, who went to the rear of the house to prevent anyone escaping, observed a male Negro "come running through the room." Harmon had a "mug shot" of Elwood, and the man he saw running appeared to be Elwood. Harmon asked his name, and, when the man replied "Elwood," Harmon told him he was under arrest for burglary and drew his gun. Elwood refused to admit Harmon and left the room. In the

Page 496

[423 P.2d 568] meantime Morrill talked with Yvonne Talley, who had answered his knock. She stated that Elwood was not at home. Near the end of the conversation Elwood rushed up to the front door from inside the house. He wanted to know what was going on and said there was a man at the back of the house who pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him. Upon inquiry he said he was under arrest. Morrill asked him to open the door, and Elwood refused to do so, saying that the man at the rear of the house was going to kill him. Morrill said that he would protect Elwood. Elwood went back into the interior of the house, and Harmon, after kicking in the rear door, let Morrill in.

[65 Cal.2d 835] The officers searched Elwood's house and found merchandise that had been taken in both of the burglaries charged and a crow bar which, according to an expert, was the instrument that made an impression on the door of Giljohann's store.

Curtis took the stand in his own defense. He denied committing the burglary at the dress shop and stated he did not remember having confessed to it. He testified that he borrowed Pippins car about 2 a.m., on April 6, 1964. When asked if he afterwards had the car in his possession until a few minutes before his arrest, he replied, "No. We had breakfast." He admitted having previously been convicted twice of burglary and once of assault with intent to commit robbery.

At the trial an objection was made to the evidence found at Elwood's home on the ground that it was obtained in an illegal search since the officers had no warrant and assertedly lacked probable cause to arrest Elwood. The People claim that there was probable cause for Elwood's arrest and the search was incidental thereto.

A peace officer may arrest a person without a warrant "[w]henever he has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony, * * *" (Pen.Code, § 836.) Reasonable or probable cause exists when the facts and circumstances within the knowledge of the officers at the moment of the arrest are sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the defendant has committed an offense. (Beck v. State of Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 96, 85 S.Ct. 223, 13 L.Ed.2d 142; People v. Schader, 62 Cal.2d 716, 722, 44 Cal.Rptr. 193, 401 P.2d 665.) The question of probable cause to justify an arrest without a warrant must be tested by the facts which the record shows were known to the officers at the time the arrest was made. (People v. Privett, 55 Cal.2d 698, 701, 12 Cal.Rptr. 874, 361 P.2d 602; People v. Paul, 147 Cal.App.2d 609, 618, 305 P.2d 996.)

Information obtained from others may be relied upon to show probable cause. (Ker v. State of California, 374 U.S. 23, 35-36, 83 S.Ct. 1623, 10 L.Ed.2d 726; Draper v. United States, 358 U.S. 307, 311-312, 79 S.Ct. 329, 3 L.Ed.2d 327; People v. Smith, 50 Cal.2d 149, 151, 323 P.2d 435; People v. Boyles, 45 Cal.2d 652, 655-656, 290 P.2d 535.) Although information provided by a known informer of unproved reliability or by an anonymous informer is relevant on the issue of probable cause, an arrest ordinarily may not be based solely on such information, and evidence must be presented to the court that would justify the conclusion that reliance on the information [65 Cal.2d 836] was reasonable. (People v. Gallegos, 62 Cal.2d 176, 179, 41 Cal.Rptr. 590, 397 P.2d 174; People v. Reeves, 61 Cal.2d 268, 273-274, 38 Cal.Rptr. 1, 391 P.2d 393; Willson v. Superior Court, 46 Cal.2d 291, 294, 294 P.2d 36.) In the present case, so far as appears, when the informer gave the police the information relating to defendants' involvement in burglaries in Long Beach he was of unproved reliability 1 and it is therefore necessary to

Page 497

[423 P.2d 569] consider whether the other matters known to the officers at the time of Elwood's arrest were sufficient to justify their reliance on that information.

The second informer was also not shown to be of known reliability, and the information supplied by him that defendants were committing burglaries outside of Long Beach clearly was not alone sufficient corroboration of the first informer's report. However, before Elwood's arrest Curtis was arrested, and the knowledge acquired by the police of the facts and circumstances surrounding Curtis' arrest as set forth above furnished substantial corroboration. 2 If the informer had told the truth about Curtis, it was not unreasonable to believe that he had probably also told the truth about Elwood. In addition, as we have seen, when the officers went to Elwood's home before arresting him (see Pen.Code, §§ 834, 835) Harmon observed him "come running through [a] room" at the rear of the house apparently after Morrill knocked on the front door, and Yvonne falsely told Morrill that...

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