People v. Vanley

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Citation116 Cal.Rptr. 446,41 Cal.App.3d 846
Decision Date18 September 1974
Docket NumberCr. 24259
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Roland Ross VANLEY, Defendant and Appellant.

Evelle J. Younger, Atty. Gen., Jack R. Winkler, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Crim. Div., S. Clark Moore, Asst. Atty. Gen., Howard J. Schwab and Russell Iungerich, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

KAUS, Presiding Justice.

Appeal from commitment to Atascadero State Hospital after defendant was found not guilty of vehicle theft (Veh.Code, § 10851) by reason of insanity, but committed to Atascadero State Hospital as not 'fully recovered.' (Pen.Code, § 1026.) 1


Our only source for the events which led to the proceedings against defendant is the transcript of his preliminary hearing.

At 7:30 p.m., on October 14, 1972, Greg Ellison left a sports car parked in front of the Platterpus Record Store on Hollywood Boulevard. He left the key in the ignition. Defendant, without permission, drove the car one block to Vermont Avenue where he stopped for a red light, and where Ellison, who had pursued him on foot, caught up with him. Ellison effected a citizen's arrest of defendant. Although defendant attempted to kick Ellison at one point, he Defendant was bound over on charges of grand theft, auto (Pen.Code, § 487, subd. (3)), and vehicle theft, sometimes known as 'felony joy riding' (Veh.Code, § 10851). He pleaded not guilty on November 15, 1972. On November 27, on motion of the defense, Doctors Markman and Abe, two psychiatrists, were appointed to examine him. Trial setting was continued to December 22, 1972.

also apologized and 'mumbled something else.' Cross-examination revealed that in Ellison's opinion defendant acted irrationally and displayed an 'apathetic attitude.'

On that day both doctors had submitted their written reports. Their ultimate conclusions are excerpted below. 2 In summary, both found that defendant had been legally insane at the time of the commission of the offense, was mentally incompetent to stand trial, and would be considered as not having 'fully recovered his sanity' if tried and, pursumably, acquitted by reason of insanity. Thus, unless the defense came up with a miracle on the question of guilt or either party were to offer a different psychiatric opinion, it was, as of December, 1972, a foregone conclusion that defendant, if tried as a criminal, would be found not guilty by reason of insanity and indefinitely committed to a state hospital pursuant to the provisions of sections 1026 and 1026a of the Penal Code--provided, of course, he chose to plead insanity. No such additional psychiatric evidence was ever ordered or--as now appears--even contemplated.

At the hearing of December 22, 1972, defense counsel suggested that it appeared from the reports that there was 'a good possibility that the defendant would fall under the provisions of (section) 1368 of the Penal Code. . . .' He wondered whether the court 'would institute at this time, 1368 proceedings.' A few seconds later, appropriate waivers having been made by defense counsel, the court found that defendant was 'presently insane pursuant to Section 1368 of the Penal Code' and ordered him committed until his sanity was restored.

On May 17, 1973, the Acting Medical Director of the Atascadero State Hospital certified defendant as sane '(i)n accordance with Section 1372 of the Penal Code.' At the same time he transmitted to the court a six page summary of defendant's hospitalization, diagnosis and treatment. This summary included a staff finding that defendant 'as before, . . . by the nature of his illness, will not be able to offer much or cooperate meaningfully with counsel On May 24, 1973, the case was set 'for further proceedings' on June 13, 1973.

                in his own defense' 3 Indeed, even the Acting [41 Cal.App.3d 850] Medical Director found it advisable to send a covering letter to the court advising it that defendant was 'being returned . . . on psychotropic medication and it is important that the patient remain on this medication, both for his personal benefit and to enable him to be certified under Section 1372 of the Penal Code.' 4  It is difficult to interpret the documents with which defendant was returned to court as saying more than that if he was kept on four different kinds of medication, he would not give any trouble

On that day matters progressed smoothly. The proceedings are copied below. 5 In 1. Counsel--not defendant--entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity;

exactly six pages of reporters' transcript the following occurred:

2. Counsel submitted, without express concurrence of defendant 'all issues, the 1368 issue, the guilt phase, and also the insanity phase';

3. The court decided to proceed after counsel assured it that he had had an opportunity to talk to his client and that he concurred with the finding that defendant was able to understand the nature of the charges against him and could cooperate in his defense;

4. Appropriate Boykin waivers were obtained from defendant so that the issue of guilt could be submitted on the transcript of the preliminary hearing;

5. Without argument by either counsel defendant was found guilty of having violated section 10851 of the Vehicle Code;

6. The issue of defendant's insanity at the time of the offense was submitted on the original reports of Doctors Markman and Abe;

7. Defendant personally waived his right to a jury trial on the issue of his sanity;

8. Defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity; and

9. The court found the defendant had not fully recovered his sanity and committed him to Atascadero State Hospital pursuant to section 1026 of the Penal Code 'until (defendant) shall fully regain his sanity.'

Defendant is still involuntarily confined.


On appeal defendant raises the following issues:

1. California's pretrial commitment procedure (Pen.Code, § 1367 et seq.) is unconstitutional and; as applied to defendant, denied him due process and equal protection of the law;

2. Defendant's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was not put in as prescribed by section 1018 of the Penal Code;

3. Before the submission of the issue of insanity on June 13, 1973, defendant should have been informed of the possible consequences of the several waivers of rights which the submission entailed;

4. After defendant had been found guilty of the Vehicle Code violation, he should have been tendered an opportunity to withdraw his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity;

5. Under the circumstances of this case, defendant was entitled to a hearing on whether or not he had recovered his sanity; and

6. Trial counsel was ineffective within the meaning of People v. Ibarra, 60 Cal.2d 460, 464--465, 34 Cal.Rptr. 863, 386 P.2d 487.


Defendant's attack on the constitutionality of the pretrial commitment procedures prescribed by Penal Code section 1367 et seq. is based on the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Jackson v. Indiana, 406 U.S. 715, 92 S.Ct. 1845, 32 L.Ed.2d 435. When defendant was committed in December, 1972, these statutory provisions did not expressly comply with the mandate of that decision. Nevertheless on February 7, 1973, while defendant was at Atascadero, our own Supreme Court decided In re Davis, 8 Cal.3d 798, 106 Cal.Rptr. 178, 505 P.2d 1018, which interpreted our Penal Code provisions in the light of Jackson v. Indiana, Supra. As interpreted by Davis our law is entirely in accord with that decision.

A subsidiary claim by defendant that his pretrial commitment deprived him of his right to a speedy trial, is also disposed of by reference to Davis. (Ibid. p. 809, 106 Cal.Rptr. 178, 505 P.2d 1018).


Defendant was under no compulsion whatever to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. (Cf. People v. Redmond, 16 Cal.App.3d 931, 937--938, 94 Cal.Rptr. 543).

The plea, however, was entered by his attorney at the outset of the proceedings of June 13, 1973, as follows: 'I believe, your Honor, also that a not guilty by reason of insanity plea has been entered at sometime during the proceedings; however, if the record does not so reflect, such a plea will be entered at this time.' 6

In People v. Gaines, 58 Cal.2d 630, 25 Cal.Rptr. 448, 375 P.2d 296, the Supreme Court, while holding in a four to three decision that a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity could be withdrawn by counsel, said unequivocally:

'It is clear that a criminal defendant's plea of not guilty by reason of insanity must be made by the defendant Himself in open court. Section 1016 of the Penal Code provides that there are 'five kinds of pleas' to an indictment, information, or complaint, and the fifth enumerated plea is 'Not guilty by reason of insanity.' Section 1017 sets forth the proper form for each of these five pleas, and the immediately following section, 1018, flatly directs that unless otherwise provided by law, 'every plea' must be put in by 'the defendant himself in open court. " (Id., at p. 636, 25 Cal.Rptr., at p. 451, 375 P.2d., at p. 299. Italics in original.)

At no time during the proceedings did defendant voice concurrence with the plea that had been entered by his attorney. His cooperation with respect to the insanity plea was not requested until much later when it was pointed out to him that in submitting the issue of insanity on the doctor's reports, he would be waiving his right to a jury trial on that issue. This is therefore not a case such as People v. Reeves, 64 Cal.2d 766, 772, 51 Cal.Rptr. 691, 415 P.2d 35, or People v. Martin, 230 Cal.App.2d 62, 63, 40 Cal.Rptr. 700, which held that the purpose of the requirement of a personal plea by defendant is to assure that the plea...

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