People v. Teresinski

Decision Date18 February 1982
Docket NumberCr. N
Citation180 Cal.Rptr. 617,30 Cal.3d 822,640 P.2d 753
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
Parties, 640 P.2d 753 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Robert Joseph TERESINSKI, Defendant and Respondent. o. 20497.

George Deukmejian and Evelle J. Younger, Attys. Gen., Robert H. Philibosian and Jack R. Winkler, Chief Asst. Attys. Gen., Arnold O. Overoye, Asst. Atty. Gen., Willard F. Jones and William G. Prahl, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and appellant.

D. Lowell Jensen, Dist. Atty. (Alameda), John J. Meehan, Asst. Dist. Atty., Ralph Countryman, Deputy Dist. Atty., David J. Levy, City Atty. (Concord), and Kenneth C. Scheidig, Asst. City Atty. as amici curiae on behalf of plaintiff and appellant.

Paul Halvonik and Quin Denvir, State Public Defenders, Gary S. Goodpaster and Ezra Hendon, Chief Asst. Public Defenders, Richard E. Shapiro and Michael S. Zola, Deputy State Public Defenders, and Lewis F. Shearer, Woodland, for defendant and respondent.

Marshall W. Krause, Krause, Baskin & Shell, Krause, Timan, Baskin, Shell & Grant, Larkspur, Ephriam Margolin, Steven Stathatos, Margaret C. Crosby, Alan L. Schlosser and Amitai Schwartz, San Francisco, as amici curiae on behalf of defendant and respondent.


Our prior opinion in this case (People v. Teresinski (1980) 26 Cal.3d 457, 162 Cal.Rptr. 44, 605 P.2d 874) upheld a ruling of the Yolo County Superior Court dismissing charges against defendant on the ground that both the physical evidence linking him to the charged robbery and the identification testimony of the victim were the direct product of an illegal detention. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and remanded the case to us for further consideration in light of United States v. Crews (1980) 445 U.S. 463, 100 S.Ct. 1244, 63 L.Ed.2d 537. (California v. Teresinski (1980) 449 U.S. 914, 101 S.Ct. 311, 66 L.Ed.2d 143.)

The Crews decision does not affect our prior conclusion that the arresting officer lacked an objectively reasonable basis for detaining defendant; it confirms our prior ruling that the physical evidence seized as a result of that detention and the subsequent photographic identification are inadmissible. Crews, however, casts doubt upon our holding that the identification testimony of the robbery victim must also be excluded. Although we reasoned that such testimony should be excluded if derived in direct causative flow, without intervening act, from the initial detention, the Supreme Court in Crews stated that admissibility should turn instead on whether the victim's identification testimony was the result of an independent recollection of the crime, untainted by any confrontation or identification arising from the illegal detention.

Upon reconsideration of this issue, pursuant to the mandate of the Supreme Court, we note first that Crews is virtually indistinguishable from the present case. Although recognizing the authority of this court to construe the California Constitution to provide protection beyond that afforded by parallel provisions of the federal document, we nevertheless find the reasoning of Crews persuasive and consistent with past California decisions; we therefore adopt Crews as defining the rights of the parties under the California Constitution.

Under the reasoning of Crews, a victim's identification testimony is admissible if based upon his independent recollection untainted by illegal police conduct. In the present case the trial court determined that the identification testimony was the independent product of the victim's observation of defendant during the robbery. Since that determination complies with the requirements of Crews, we conclude that the trial court erred in suppressing the testimony.

1. Statement of facts.

We reproduce the factual recital from our former opinion, adding a brief discussion of the views of the trial judge concerning the independent basis of the identification testimony.

About 2 a. m., Officer Rocha of the Dixon police force saw an unfamiliar car with three occupants proceeding through the city business district. Because of windshield glare he could not see defendant, the driver, but he thought both passengers were juveniles and surmised that the driver also was a minor. Although the car was proceeding at a lawful speed without any suspicious behavior, the officer signaled the driver to stop. He subsequently explained that he detained the car because "I believed there were juveniles in the car. We have a 10:00 o'clock curfew in Dixon." 1

As the car slowed to a stop Officer Rocha observed defendant and the front-seat passenger glance back and reach down. Those gestures led him to believe that the occupants might be hiding alcohol or reaching for a weapon. Defendant alighted from the car, walked toward the police vehicle, and presented his driver's license. The license verified defendant's adult status, and in fact only one occupant of the car was a juvenile.

Rocha told defendant to stay at the rear of the car, walked to the driver's window, and shined his light on the floorboard. He saw a pool of liquid and a beer can under the front seat. Ordering the two passengers out, he then observed a gun holster; and, after questioning, Rocha retrieved a loaded weapon from the floorboard. 2

A subsequent search of the car produced several beer containers, a baggie of marijuana, and a paper bag filled with bills and change. The money was traced to a Seven-Eleven store that had been robbed earlier that night in nearby Woodland. Defendant and his two passengers were arrested on suspicion of robbery. Mr. Cady, the store clerk who witnessed the robbery, identified photographs of defendant and his companions. Later at the preliminary hearing Cady identified defendant in person.

Defendant moved pursuant to Penal Code section 1538.5 to suppress both the physical evidence seized and the identification testimony of Cady, basing his motion primarily on the testimony of Cady and Officer Rocha at the preliminary hearing. Following argument, the court requested briefing on the question whether "under circumstances where the victim is able to identify but is unable to name the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime, if the defendant's name becomes known to the victim as a result of an illegal arrest and mug pictures are taken and shown to the victim, then must the victim's identification of the defendant ... be suppressed? " Clarifying its request, the court further stated that "Here the Court is satisfied that Mr. Cady was able to identify the defendants. He knew their physical appearance. But he did not know their name, and their names became known to him through the mugshots which were taken as a result of ... an illegal stop ...."

After receiving briefs, the trial court granted the motion to suppress. It ruled, first, that because defendant and his companions were not loitering, Officer Rocha had no basis for detaining them; the detention was therefore illegal. The illegality of the detention compels suppression of the evidence found in the car. The trial court also directed suppression of Cady's testimony, on the ground that "[t]here was a direct, immediate and necessary causal connection between the illegal stop and the identifications." Since there remained no evidence linking defendant with the robbery, the court ordered the charges dismissed.

The People appealed. As we noted earlier, this court granted a hearing and affirmed the trial court's ruling in all respects. (26 Cal.3d 457, 162 Cal.Rptr. 44, 605 P.2d 874.) The Supreme Court granted certiorari and remanded the case to us for reconsideration in light of United States v. Crews, supra, 445 U.S. 463, 100 S.Ct. 1244, 63 L.Ed.2d 537, a decision of the high court filed subsequent to our decision in Teresinski.

2. Invalidity of the detention.

Although the Supreme Court's mandate referred only to United States v. Crews, a decision which does not relate to our earlier holding that defendant's detention was illegal, we have permitted the parties to present additional authorities and argument bearing on that issue. Upon review of the matter, however, we adhere to our prior holding, and adopt the language of the former opinion as modified to take account of additional contentions advanced and authorities cited.

As we noted in our former opinion, In re Tony C. (1978) 21 Cal.3d 888, 893, 148 Cal.Rptr. 366, 582 P.2d 957 defined the constitutional standard for measuring the validity of a detention. That decision explained that: "to justify an investigative stop or detention the circumstances known or apparent to the officer must include specific and articulable facts causing him to suspect that (1) some activity relating to crime has taken place or is occurring or about to occur, and (2) the person he intends to stop or detain is involved in that activity. Not only must he subjectively entertain such a suspicion, but it must be objectively reasonable for him to do so: the facts must be such as would cause any reasonable police officer in a like position, drawing when appropriate on his training and experience [citation omitted], to suspect the same criminal activity and the same involvement by the person in question."

We need only apply that standard to the facts of the present case. The detention here rested upon Officer Rocha's suspicion that defendant and his comrades were violating a city curfew ordinance. 3 Contrary to Officer Rocha's statement, the ordinance does not declare it a crime for minors to be found in public after 10 p. m. It provides that it is unlawful for a minor "to loiter, idle, wander, stroll, or play in or upon the public streets" and other public places between 10 p. m. and 5 a. m. 4 These terms cannot reasonably be construed to encompass defendant's conduct.

The word "loiter" in particular bears a sinister connotation: it generally connotes lingering for the purpose of committing a crime. (In...

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