State v. Csolak, No. 37826

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtSNYDER; DOWD, P. J., and ALDEN A. STOCKARD
Citation571 S.W.2d 118
Decision Date01 August 1978
Docket NumberNo. 37826
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. James Samuel CSOLAK, Defendant-Appellant. . Louis District, Division Four

Page 118

571 S.W.2d 118
STATE of Missouri, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
James Samuel CSOLAK, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 37826.
Missouri Court of Appeals, St. Louis District, Division Four.
Aug. 1, 1978.

Page 120

James E. Wynne, Don Anton, Anton, Raleigh, Wynne & Schmidt, St. Louis, for defendant-appellant.

Cortney Goodman, Jr., St. Louis County Pros. Atty. by Gordon L. Ankney, Asst. Pros. Atty., Clayton, John D. Ashcroft, Atty. Gen., J. Michael Davis, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for plaintiff-respondent.

SNYDER, Judge.

Defendant was convicted by a jury of the crime of rape (§ 559.260, Cum.Supp.1975) and sentenced to twenty years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. He appeals.

As grounds for reversal, appellant contends that the trial court erred: (1) in overruling his motion to suppress evidence; (2) in failing to issue a writ of mandamus to compel the prosecutor to show cause why he did not file a petition to declare appellant a criminal sexual psychopath under § 202.700, RSMo 1969; (3) in overruling appellant's motion to suppress lineup and in-court identification; and (4) in failing to declare a mistrial after a police officer answered a question on direct examination as to whether the victim had identified anyone in the lineup.

No complaint has been made by the appellant as to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conviction. Therefore, only such facts as are necessary to the discussion of the issues raised will be reviewed.

Appellant first claims error on the part of the trial court in overruling his motion to suppress certain physical evidence seized by the state in the warrantless search of an automobile. The physical evidence in question is a spotlight and a starter pistol.

The victim was driving from a drugstore toward her home at approximately 9:45 p. m. on December 4, 1974 when she noticed a flashing light in the automobile behind her. She drove to the curb and stopped. Appellant walked up to her window, pointed a gun at her head and ordered her to open the door. She resisted appellant's demand to

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remove her clothing after which he put the gun to her head and told her if she did not comply he would kill her. She was then forced to have sexual intercourse with appellant against her will.

At 2:00 a. m. on May 31, 1975, Florissant police officers arrested appellant at his home on a tip from another alleged rape victim. After being advised of his Miranda rights, appellant stated: "I'm the one you're looking for." Appellant was then taken to the Florissant police station. There, the officers asked him the location of the gun and spotlight used in the alleged rape of the other victim. Appellant said they were in the glove box of his car, a 1964 Mercury two-door convertible. The officers had seen this car outside the residence where appellant was arrested.

Appellant was given a "consent to search" form. The officers explained the form to appellant and after reading it over appellant signed it, thereby consenting to the search of his home and car. At the time appellant signed the consent form, there were two, or at most three, police officers present.

After obtaining the signature, two officers and appellant drove back to the house. Appellant handed his car keys to one of the officers, who unlocked the door and found the items in the glove box. This search took place at 2:30 a. m., approximately one-half hour after appellant's arrest. No search warrant had been issued.

At the hearing on appellant's pretrial motion to suppress these items of evidence, it was proved that title to the 1964 Mercury was in the name of appellant's father. Appellant, however, had his own set of keys to the automobile and did not own a car of his own. Appellant testified at the hearing that he could not recall whether he had signed the consent form. The motion to suppress was denied on the grounds that appellant had no standing to challenge the validity of the search and seizure because he did not own the automobile and could not assert the constitutional rights of another.

The trial court erred in finding appellant had no standing to challenge the validity of this search. The Missouri Supreme Court examined the standing of a child to challenge the search of an automobile owned by the father in In re J. R. M., 487 S.W.2d 502 (Mo.banc 1972). After analyzing a number of United States Supreme Court cases on standing, the court decided to follow what it perceived as the trend in the case law to look beyond title to the property or premises in deciding the standing issue. Instead of a strict reliance on proprietary interest, the court adopted a case by case approach which requires an examination of the facts of each case "to determine the relationship of defendant to the premises and property and to determine whether defendant was entitled to and did have a reasonable expectation that the property would be free from governmental intrusion other than by a proper and lawful search and seizure." (at 508).

On the facts before it in J. R. M., supra, the court determined the child had standing to challenge the search. The court noted the child had his own keys to the car and used it regularly as if it were his own. the child was included in the family insurance coverage and lived at home with his parents where the car was kept.

Similarly, appellant here has standing to challenge the search. He had his own keys to the car and used it regularly as if it were his own. Nothing appears on the record about insurance coverage, but the lack of that evidence does not alter the result. When the car was searched it was parked in front of appellant's residence, which was different from his father's. This fact demonstrates the car was in appellant's possession at the time of the search. Appellant was asserting his own constitutional rights, not those of his father. He had a "reasonable expectation that the property would be free from governmental intrusion other than by a proper and lawful search and seizure." J. R. M., supra, 508.

The state has cited several cases where the court determined the defendant had no standing to challenge the search because he

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did not have a proprietary interest in the car. State v. Damico, 513 S.W.2d 351 (Mo.1974); State v. Dilworth, 540 S.W.2d 623 (Mo.App.1976); State v. Edmonds, 462 S.W.2d 782 (Mo.1971). All three of these cases involve Stolen automobiles and are, therefore, distinguishable.

Although appellant had standing to challenge the search, the trial court reached the proper result in overruling his motion to suppress this evidence. "(I)f the trial court reached a correct decision on the issue presented it is immaterial that the court may have assigned an erroneous or insufficient reason for the action taken (cites omitted)." State v. Garton, 371 S.W.2d 283, 290 (Mo.1963). Accord: State v. Haynes, 482 S.W.2d 444 (Mo.1972); Umfress v. State, 512 S.W.2d 178 (Mo.App.1974).

The state seeks to justify this warrantless search on several alternative theories, including appellant's consent to the search. Because valid consent is disclosed by the totality of the circumstances, the other theories will not be discussed.

A warrantless search conducted pursuant to a valid consent is a recognized exception to the Fourth Amendment's ban against unreasonable searches and seizures. Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973); State v. Berry, 526 S.W.2d 92 (Mo.App.1975); State v. Rush, 497 S.W.2d 213 (Mo.App.1973). When the state relies upon the defendant's consent to justify a warrantless search, it has the burden of proving that the consent was freely and voluntarily given. Schneckloth, supra; Berry, supra.

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8 practice notes
  • State v. Blair, No. 62782
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • August 31, 1982
    ...evidence to support a finding that written consent, given by the lessee of the apartment, was voluntarily given. See State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118 After the consent form had been signed, a police dog sensitive to nitrates, an ingredient in gunpowder and explosives, was taken through the a......
  • State v. Gant, No. KCD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • September 4, 1979
    ...443, 446 (Mo.1972); State v. Ramsey, 477 S.W.2d 88, 90 (Mo.1972); State v. Walters, 457 S.W.2d 817, 822-23 (Mo.1970); State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118, 123 (Mo.App.1978); State v. Davis, 529 S.W.2d 10, 19 (Mo.App.1975); and State v. Ealey, 515 S.W.2d 778, 780 (Mo.App.1974). As aptly stated i......
  • State v. Harris, No. 67569
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 17, 1986
    ...the identification did not specifically state who was identified. See State v. Ashford, 620 S.W.2d 445 (Mo.App.1981); State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118 Despite the uniformity of result in these cases, analysis has varied under the labels of cumulative evidence, prior consistent statements, bo......
  • State v. McFarland, No. WD31132.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • October 15, 1980
    ...in-court identification was unequivocal. The trial court committed no error in permitting her in-court identification. State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118 Defendant's third point is rejected. IV. Defendant tendered but the trial court refused a special instruction concerning the jury's consider......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • State v. Blair, No. 62782
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • August 31, 1982
    ...evidence to support a finding that written consent, given by the lessee of the apartment, was voluntarily given. See State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118 After the consent form had been signed, a police dog sensitive to nitrates, an ingredient in gunpowder and explosives, was taken through the a......
  • State v. Gant, No. KCD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • September 4, 1979
    ...443, 446 (Mo.1972); State v. Ramsey, 477 S.W.2d 88, 90 (Mo.1972); State v. Walters, 457 S.W.2d 817, 822-23 (Mo.1970); State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118, 123 (Mo.App.1978); State v. Davis, 529 S.W.2d 10, 19 (Mo.App.1975); and State v. Ealey, 515 S.W.2d 778, 780 (Mo.App.1974). As aptly stated i......
  • People v. Coleman, No. 2-85-0056
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • February 5, 1986
    ...270 Ind. 599, 388 N.E.2d 496 (husband had a legitimate expectation of privacy in wife's automobile); State v. Csolak (Mo.Ct.App.1978), 571 S.W.2d 118 (son had standing to challenge search of father's car where he had his own keys, used it regularly as his own, and car was at son's residence......
  • State v. Harris, No. 67569
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 17, 1986
    ...the identification did not specifically state who was identified. See State v. Ashford, 620 S.W.2d 445 (Mo.App.1981); State v. Csolak, 571 S.W.2d 118 Despite the uniformity of result in these cases, analysis has varied under the labels of cumulative evidence, prior consistent statements, bo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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