People v. Richardson , 51 Cal.2d 445
THE PEOPLE, Respondent, v. WILMA LEE RICHARDSON, Appellant.
Frank J. Baumgarten for Appellant.
Edmund G. Brown, Attorney General, Clarence A. Linn, Assistant Attorney General, and Peter T. Kennedy, Deputy Attorney General, for Respondent.
A jury found defendant guilty of possessing narcotics in violation of section 11500 of the Health and Safety Code. On this appeal she claims that there was an unlawful search and seizure and that there is insufficient evidence to show knowing possession.
Defendant was taken into custody on the morning of January 2, 1957, by Inspector Noel and three other officers. Noel and one of the other officers testified at the trial and related substantially the same facts with respect to the arrest. Upon entering the building in which defendant's apartment was located, the officers, who did not have a warrant, saw defendant open her door and walk down a hallway to the rear of the building. Her door was left ajar, and the officers entered and began to conduct a search. When defendant returned a few minutes later, she was placed under arrest, and a vial of narcotics was found in her skirt pocket. She said, "Well, I guess you have got me good this time," and, when questioned as to where she had obtained the narcotics, she replied, "I'd rather not say." She did not deny knowing that the narcotics were on her person.
Inspector Noel testified that the officers had gone to defendant's apartment because of information obtained from two sources on the morning of the arrest. A man who was known to the inspector as James Allen and who claimed to be living with defendant came to the inspector's office and said that defendant was selling narcotics at her apartment. Shortly thereafter, Noel was told by Inspector Ohlson, who did not testify at the trial, that Ohlson had received the same information from Randolph Clark. According to Noel, both Allen and Clark had, on previous occasions, given the authorities information which led to arrests, and, in his opinion, they were reliable informers. A photograph was introduced into evidence, which Noel identified as being that of James Allen.
Defendant took the stand and said that she was living with a James Allen at the time she was taken into custody but that [51 Cal.2d 447] he was not the man whose photograph was in evidence. She testified that she had not known of the presence of narcotics on her person, and she denied making the incriminating remarks attributed to her by the officers. Her explanation was that one of her boarders, Randolph Clark, had quarreled with her and that, while she was washing clothes shortly before the arrest, Faye Robertson, a woman living with Clark, had asked her to keep something for a few minutes and had put an object wrapped in a five-dollar bill into her skirt pocket. According to defendant, the vial of narcotics was wrapped in a five-dollar bill when found by the police, and she then saw the vial for the first time. The officers testified, however, that there was no five-dollar bill in defendant's pocket, and, when Faye Robertson was called to the stand by the People, she testified that she did not know of any quarrel between defendant and Clark and that she had not given defendant the narcotics.
The defense called a witness who testified that his name was James Allen, that he had formerly lived at defendant's address, and that he had never given Inspector Noel information about defendant or anyone else. It was stipulated that the witness was not the informer referred to by Noel.
 The evidence against defendant, if legally secured, clearly warrants the jury's implied finding that she knowingly possessed narcotics, and the only claim of error which need be discussed is the assertion that the evidence against defendant was obtained as the result of an unlawful search and seizure.
 Defendant did not object at any point in the trial to the admission of evidence on the ground that it was obtained by an unlawful search and seizure, and she may not raise the matter for the first time on appeal. (People v. Goldberg, 152 Cal.App.2d 562, 572 [314 P.2d 151]; People v. Williams, 148 Cal.App.2d 525, 532 [307 P.2d 48]; see People v. Kitchens, 46 Cal.2d 260, 262 [294 P.2d 17]; cf. Robison v. Superior Court, 49 Cal.2d 186, 187 [316 P.2d 1].)  Moreover, the record permits the determination that, notwithstanding the absence of a warrant, the arrest and ensuing search were justified because there was reason to believe that defendant had committed a felony. Noel's testimony regarding James Allen, with whom he dealt personally, is alone sufficient for this purpose, without resort to his testimony about the information he received indirectly from Randolph Clark. The position taken by defendant, although not entirely clear, appears to be that the showing made by her with respect to Allen compels [51 Cal.2d 448] the conclusion that the alleged informer either did not exist or was not reliable. Obviously, however, defendant succeeded, at most, in creating a conflict in the evidence for the trial court to resolve, and the court was entitled to believe Noel and to determine that the communication in question was in fact made by an informer known to Noel as James Allen and that, in view of the informer's past reliability, there was reasonable cause for the arrest and search.
What has been said above makes it unnecessary to consider defendant's claim that the information allegedly given by Randolph Clark cannot be relied upon to justify the search and seizure because Noel learned of it indirectly through Inspector Ohlson, who did not testify.
The judgment is affirmed.
Shenk, J., Carter, J., Traynor, J., Schauer, J., Spence, J., and McComb, J., concurred.
|Fri, 01/30/1959||51 Cal. 2d 445, 334 P.2d 573||Review - Criminal Appeal||Opinion issued|
|1||THE PEOPLE (Respondent)|
|2||, v. WILMA LEE RICHARDSON, Appellant. (, v. WILMA LEE RICHARDSON)|
|3||THE PEOPLE (Respondent)|
|Jan 30 1959||Opinion: Affirmed|
|May 28, 2010|
Annotated by simms
Opinion: C.J. Gibson
Annotation by: Ashley Simms
Key Terms: Search and Seizure, Warrantless search, Identification of Informants
|Mar 12, 2009|
Annotated by diana teasland
Written by Robert Gonzalez
Suspects: The primary suspect in the murder was Keith Richardson, who was spotted around the house, fled the day after the murder, was linked to the crime scene through DNA, and confessed to various other witnesses. Steven Brown, another man from the area, was believed to have also been involved. Brown was charged separately, convicted, and also sentenced to death. A third suspect, fifteen-year-old Bobby Joe Marshall, Jr., was also believed to be present when the murder occurred. He was charged separately but the charges where dismissed and he subsequently testified against Richardson.
At around 7:30 pm on Saturday, Richardson told Barney Hernandez that he had seen April walking around alone, that he had stopped at her residence, and that “he was gonna check her out, and he was gonna take care of it.” Richardson also asked Robert Hernandez to inject him with cocaine. Between 9 and 9:30, individuals near the Holley residence heard screams coming from the house, and one witness identified the screams as coming from April.
Later that evening, Richardson arrived at the Rousanvall bus to do cocaine with Tammy Petrea. Richardson confessed to Petrea, admitting that he (and unnamed others) had raped and drowned April Holley. He insisted that he would “take care of” Petrea as well if she told anybody. Bobby Joe Marshall, Jr. also testified that Richardson told him that he had killed April Holley later that night.
Sunday morning, Rummerfield went to the Holley residence to use the bathroom. Finding the front door locked, he went in the back door and went towards the bathroom. Upon entering, he found April lying in the tub, in a fetal position, wearing only a sweatshirt. Her head was directly under the spout and her face was partially covered with water. She also showed signs of sexual abuse.
Police and paramedics arrived and began in investigation. They did not share the details of the investigation with any bystanders. Later that morning, another witness testified to hearing Richardson and Bobby Joe Marshall, Jr. discussing the murder and concocting an alibi. Barney Hernandez testified that Richardson had blood on his shirt that morning and had shaved his goatee. That afternoon, after lurking nervously around the crime scene, Richardson left with Brian Pounds to San Leandro.
A week later, Richardson was interviewed by two detectives in San Leandro. Richardson waived his Miranda rights and appeared eager to cooperate. Richardson gave a conflicting account of what happened. He agreed to another interview the following day. After more conflicting accounts, and being prompted by false statements from the investigators, Richardson admitted to being present in the Holley residence that evening, but denied committing the murder. He later confessed to the murder, but immediately retracted the confession.
Investigators found a host of DNA evidence linking Richardson and Brown to the murder. DNA found around April’s rectum was linked to Brown. Pubic hairs found in the bathtub and on April’s sweatshirt were matched to samples from Richardson. Furthermore, an inmate in Tulare County Jail came forward saying that Richardson told him, “She wasn’t the first and she won’t be the last, motherf-ker.”
Richardson was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to death. Richardson raised a host of issues on appeal.