State v. Paul

Decision Date04 February 1972
Docket NumberNo. 809,809
Citation83 N.M. 527,494 P.2d 189,1972 NMCA 24
PartiesSTATE of New Mexico, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Paulina PAUL, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeals of New Mexico

WOOD, Chief Judge.

There was an armed robbery at the registration desk and in the lounge of a motel. During the course of the robberies at least two persons were injured. Convicted of two armed robberies and two aggravated batteries, defendant appeals. Section 40A--16--2, N.M.S.A.1953 (Repl.Vol. 6) and § 40A--3--5, N.M.S.A.1953 (Repl.Vol. 6, Supp.1971). The issues concern: (1) actions and remarks of the trial court; (2) identification testimony; (3) due process claims; and (4) sanity at the time of the offenses.

Actions and remarks of trial court.

On the scheduled day for trial, when the trial judge declared that court was in session, defendant remarked: 'Oh my Heavenly Father, You know I am your son, get these devils off of me.' The remark was ignored. Defendant's case was called and the parties announced they were ready for trial. Twelve prospective jurors were called and while they were being questioned by the court, the record shows '* * * the defendant stood up and there was another outburst from the defendant.' The court stated: 'You are going to sit down and you are going to stay quiet or I am going to sit you down and keep you quiet * * *.'

The court's questioning of the jury was resumed. A third outburst occurred. The trial court sent for a gag and stated: '* * * the very next time he has that outburst I want him tied * * *.' Thereupon, the fourth outburst occurred. The State then moved for a mistrial.

While the district attorney was arguing on behalf of a mistrial, defendant continued with comments such as 'Who is lying?' At the district attorney's request the courtroom was cleared and the argument on behalf of a mistrial continued. Defendant's interruptions also continued, resulting in the court (out of the presence of the jury) telling defendant to 'shut up' and remarking that in the court's opinion defendant was feigning. Defense counsel opposed the motion for mistrial, pointing out that defendant could be controlled with a gag. See Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337, 90 S.Ct. 1057, 25 L.Ed.2d 353 (1970).

The trial court denied the motion for mistrial. It left the defendant without a gag but stated that at the next outburst defendant was to be gagged and shackled. The trial proceeded without further interruptions by defendant.

At the close of the State's case, defendant moved either for a mistrial or a directed verdict on the basis that the court's remarks in the presence of the jury panel '* * * prejudiced the defense sought to be raised by the defendant, that is insanity, at the time of the commission of the alleged offenses.'

We disagree. Certainly a directed verdict in favor of a defendant is not to be granted on the basis of defendant's misconduct. The motion for a mistrial is within the discretion of the trial court and will not be reversed unless that discretion is abused. There was no abuse of discretion in telling the defendant to sit down and stay quiet and, after repeated outbursts, in directing that defendant was to be gagged and tied if the outbursts continued. The administration of criminal justice is not to be delivered into the hands of those who gain only from its subversion. State v. Guy, 82 N.M. 483, 483 P.2d 1323 (Ct.App.1971). If prejudice to the defense resulted from the court's remarks, it was defendant's own doing, and he is not to be permitted to gain from his outbursts.

Identification testimony.

The witness Miranda testified on direct examination as to some of the events occurring during the armed robberies. Miranda, on direct examination, did not identify the defendant as the criminal. On cross-examination he testified the criminal was a Negro on the basis of having seen black hands. Also, on cross-examination, he testified that shortly before the crimes he had seen 'two colored persons' outside the motel.

Still later in Miranda's cross-examination, defendant brought out that Miranda had viewed a line-up at the police station at 2:00 a.m. following the crimes; that of the persons viewed, one looked similar to a person Miranda had had dealings with but Miranda couldn't say that person had been at the motel; and that the defendant was not the person in the line-up that looked 'similar.' However, Miranda was 'pretty sure' he saw defendant the next day when taken up to the jail.

The witness Marrone, during her direct examination, also testified to some of the events of the crimes. In doing so, she referred to the criminal as 'he' and apparently pointed to the defendant. A reading of her entire examination shows that she never identified the defendant. She testified that she could not say whether the criminal was Negro or white. (The criminal wore a stocking mask).

Defendant claims he was denied due process because his conviction resulted in part on an in-court identification based on a one-man show-up when the defendant was not represented by counsel. This is factually incorrect. Miranda did not identify anybody at the line-up which, according to Miranda, consisted of three or four Negroes, among others. As to seeing defendant at the jail the next day, there is nothing in the record indicating the circumstances of this viewing. There is no factual basis for this claim. Compare State v. Samora, 83 N.M. 222, 490 P.2d 480 (Ct.App.1971); State v. Orzen (Ct.App.), 83 N.M. 458, 493 P.2d 768, decided January 14, 1972.


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10 cases
  • State v. Swick
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • June 1, 2012
    ...should not be able to benefit from his or her own misbehavior. To support its position, the State cites State v. Paul, 83 N.M. 527, 529, 494 P.2d 189, 191 (Ct.App.1972), in which the Court of Appeals held that a defendant should “not ... be permitted to gain from his outbursts.” {70} The tr......
  • State v. Swick, Opinion Number: 2012-NMSC-018
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • June 1, 2012
    ...should not be able to benefit from his or her own misbehavior. To support its position, the State cites State v. Paul, 83 N.M. 527, 529, 494 P.2d 189, 191 (Ct. App. 1972), in which the Court of Appeals held that a defendant should "not . . . be permitted to gain from his outbursts." {70} Th......
  • State v. Smith
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • February 27, 1979
    ...Court in support of his allegations. A general claim of denial of a fair trial cannot provide a basis for relief. State v. Paul, 83 N.M. 527, 494 P.2d 189 (Ct.App.1972). POINT Smith contends that the trial court erred in not granting his motion to dismiss the indictment for lack of venue an......
  • State v. Templeton
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • June 20, 2007
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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