THORNTON v. STATE No. 42353.
451 S.W.2d 898 (1970)
Caris Ton THORNTON, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas.
Rehearing Denied March 25, 1970.
Henry Wade, Dist. Atty., Alvin Walvoord, and John Tolle, Asst. Dist. Attys., Dallas, and Jim D. Vollers, State's Atty., Austin, for the State.
The conviction is for robbery by assault; the punishment eighty-five years. Appellant was tried jointly with Walter Thomas, Jr., our Cause No. 41,962,
The record reflects that Thomas Johnson and Gerald Lamb had been drinking at nightspots on a Saturday night, and rather than go into Johnson's apartment, where his mother lived, they went to sleep in Johnson's car at the apartment. At approximately three or three-thirty o'clock on Sunday morning, Johnson was awakened when Walter Thomas, Jr., tapped him on the head with a pistol. Johnson got out of the car and saw two other armed men (Lampkin and Thornton); the three men took Johnson's billfold and Lamb's watch. Johnson and Lamb were ordered to get into the trunk of Johnson's car. When Johnson hesitated, Lampkin cursed him and punched him in the back with a gun. The order was then complied with, the complainants got inside the trunk, and it was closed.
The three armed men got into the car, and more than ten hours of captivity for the occupants of the trunk began. When it became daylight and during one of the many stops, Johnson looked out of a hole where a lens of a taillight had been broken and saw a pickup truck behind the car. The three men got out of the car and talked to the driver of the pickup truck. The truck followed and stopped every time the car stopped. Johnson was able to get the license number of the truck and observe some of the activities of the three men during the day. The car stopped at several business establishments in the Dallas and Oak Cliff areas. At most of the stops, two of the men would get out of the car and one would remain inside. On one occasion Johnson saw Lampkin, Thomas, Thornton and Durden (the driver of the truck) return to the car with brown paper sacks in their hands. After they jumped into the car, complainants heard change hit the floor.
At about one-thirty o'clock that afternoon, the three abandoned the car, after stripping its gears, and departed in the truck. Complainants opened the trunk with a tire tool and called the officers.
In the first ground of error, it is contended that the trial court erred in refusing to grant appellant's motion for severance, because each of his co-defendants had several prior felony convictions and appellant had only one felony conviction for robbery and a misdemeanor conviction for carrying a pistol.
Article 36.09, Vernon's Ann.C.C.P., provides:
Appellant contends that if another defendant has a prior admissible conviction that a severance should be granted as a matter of right. After appellant's brief was filed in the trial court, this Court held in Robinson v. State,
In Robinson v. State, supra, and Johnson v. State, Tex.Cr.App.,
In the present case, no evidence was offered before trial in support of the motion and no error is presented.
Ground of error number one is overruled.
Complaint is made in the second ground of error that the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress the evidence seized as a result of the search of the apartment without a warrant.
Officer Don Norman of the Dallas Police Department testified that he received a call at approximately one-thirty Sunday afternoon, January 28, 1968, and went to Oak Cliff where the saw Johnson and Lamb, the complainants, who were visibly shaken. They told him that they had been robbed and gave him a description of the robbers and of the pickup truck and its license number. He saw that the trunk of Johnson's car had been pried upon and damaged. Near the car he found a change box from a cash register. A CID unit composed of Detective Carl Railey and Officer Van Cleve, who were also present, got the description of the robbers and the pickup truck and left. A short time later they apprehended two men on Oakland Street in a 1953 Chevrolet pickup truck which had the same license number as the one described by Johnson and Lamb. Officer Norman met Railey and Van Cleve again on Oakland Street at approximately two o'clock. Another CID unit was called, and it arrived within twenty-five or thirty minutes. The officers obtained information from James Lee Buster and another man who were apprehended in the pickup truck that the robbers were in an apartment at 3100 Birmingham Street.
The record further reflects that one of the officers knocked at the door of the apartment and Durden (who had been a driver of the pickup truck earlier in the day) told the officers to come in. The officers saw eight men, including Thornton, Lampkin and Thomas, and one woman in the one-bedroom apartment. In the commode that had just been flushed, the officers found the drivers license and social security card of the complainant Johnson. Officer Norman found a .22 caliber revolver and a large amount of change rolled up in a pair of trousers in a closet. Officer Railey found another pistol under the mattress of one of the beds. An automatic pistol and Lamb's watch were in a dresser drawer. All three of the guns were loaded. A toy gun was found under the mattress of another bed. The arrests were made at approximately three-fifteen or three-thirty o'clock in the afternoon.
When questioned on cross-examination why a search warrant was not obtained, Officer Norman testified that they did not have time to obtain one. Officer Babb testified that they could not determine who owned or rented the apartment. Babb was also asked how long it took to get a warrant in an ordinary case. He answered: "Well, there is no ordinary case, because you have to locate a judge."
The trial court did not err in admitting the guns and other items found in the apartment. The record reflects that this was on Sunday afternoon, and the officers had been informed that the felony offense of robbery had been committed, and they did not have time to obtain a warrant. The appellants had left the pickup truck that they had been using. The officers were told that the robbers were in an apartment at the Birmingham Street address, but they could not ascertain the name of the landlord or tenant of the apartment.
Their arrest was justified under Article 14.04, supra.
In view of the fact that after the officers entered this one-bedroom apartment they saw nine people with three of them fitting the description given by the complaining witness Johnson as the armed robbers, the search of the apartment for the pistols was justified. See O'Neal v. State, Tex.Cr.App.,
After this case was tried, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Chimel v. California,
Chimel is distinguishable. There, the officers were searching for stolen coins and property taken in the burglary. In the present case officers under this record were justified after their entry in searching the apartment for the pistols for their own protection.
United States v. Bennett,
In Lyon v. United States,
We agree that Chimel is not retroactive and is not applicable in the present case. The second ground of error is overruled.
In the third ground of error, it is contended that the trial court erred in allowing the complainant Johnson to identify appellant at the trial, because he had been in a lineup without counsel.
Reliance is had on United States v. Wade,
The lineup was held at approximately four-thirty p. m. Johnson, on direct examination, identified Thornton, Thomas and Lampkin as the robbers without objection. The State did not offer evidence of the lineup to bolster the in-court identification testimony. After the defense brought out the fact that a lineup had been held, the State did show that Johnson had identified the three as the robbers in the lineup without hesitation. He had previously described them to the officers. He testified that he could have identified them if no lineup had been held, because he had seen them in the lighted garage at the apartment, and through the broken taillight of his car throughout the day.
Lamb, without objection, identified Lampkin at the trial and at the lineup. He could not identify Thornton or Thomas.
Officers Norman and Babb testified that written waivers of counsel and consent for a lineup were signed by each of the defendants. Neither the State nor the defense pursued this matter further. The waivers of counsel or consent to the lineup do not appear in the record. It was shown that Johnson identified the three at an examining trial and had also identified them from pictures.
There was no showing of any material discrepancy between the descriptions given prior to the arrest and the actual appearance of the accused. A short period of time elapsed between the acts and the lineup identification. The record shows that the in-court identification was of independent origin.
In Martinez v. State, Tex.Cr.App.,
The third ground of error is overruled.
In view of the instruction of the court to disregard the remark, we conclude that no reversible error was committed.
The judgment is affirmed.
ONION, Judge (concurring).
The most important question presented by this appeal is the permissible extent or scope of a search incident to a lawful arrest based on probable cause, there being neither an arrest nor search warrant and the lengthening shadows cast upon such permissible scope by the decision in Chimel v. California,
Overruling Harris v. United States,
Chimel declared (395 U.S. at p. 763, 89 S.Ct. at p. 2040, 23 L.Ed.2d at p. 694) that the permissible scope under the Fourth Amendment of a search incident to a valid arrest is `the arrestee's person and the area "within his immediate control'— construing that phrase to mean the area from within which he might gain possession of a weapon or destructible evidence. There is no comparable justification, however, for routinely searching any room other than that in which an arrest occurs—or, for that matter, for searching through all the desk drawers or other closed or concealed areas in that room itself. Such searches, in absence of well-recognized exceptions, may be made only under the authority of a search warrant. The `adherence to judicial processes' mandated by the Fourth Amendment requires no less."
In both Harris and Rabinowitz the Supreme Court had upheld searches incident to arrest that extended beyond the scope that is now permissible under Chimel. In Harris the defendant was arrested in the living room of a four room apartment and the entire apartment was searched. In Rabinowitz the arrest occurred in a one room office, and the officers searched "the desk, safe and file cabinets in the office for about an hour and a half." Rabinowitz came to stand for, as the majority in Chimel acknowledges, "the proposition, inter alia, that a warrantless search `incident to a lawful arrest' may generally extend to the area that is considered to be in the `possession' or under the `control' of the person arrested." It was upon this proposition of law that the California courts upheld the search of Chimel's entire house, attic, garage, workshop and various drawers.
That the law in this area has been something less than consistent and unfortunately hazy is acknowledged by Chimel. The pre-Chimel federal cases have been
There the Court wrote:
The decisions of this State have not established that the permissible scope of a search incident to a valid arrest is necessarily confined to the room in which the arrest occurs. Relying upon Agnello v.
Citing Abel v. United States,
In Elg v. State, 129 Tex.Cr.R. 29, 84 S.W.2d 237, the search of the defendant's residence when the defendant's wife was arrested at such place was upheld even though there was no search warrant or consent to search.
In King v. Moberley, Tex.Civ.App.,
Discussing searches incident to arrest, it is written in 51 Tex.Jur.2d, Searches and Seizures, Sec. 9, p. 662:
Many authorities are cited.
That such right was not unlimited was recognized in Beeland v. State, 149 Tex. Cr.App. 272, 193 S.W.2d 687, a robbery case, where the Court pointed out that such a search may under some circumstances extend to the place where the arrest occurs. And in Fowler v. State, 114 Tex.Cr.R. 69, 22 S.W.2d 935, the Court refused to sanction the search of a bathroom several yards distant from the point of arrest in a yard adjacent to a residence as incident to an arrest.
The foregoing was the apparent status of federal and Texas law at the time Chimel was decided. If Chimel is to have retroactive application, then a question may be raised as to whether the search in the case at bar exceeded the permissible scope permitted by that decision. It must be then decided whether Chimel is to have prospective or retroactive application.
The Supreme Court expressly reserved the question of the retroactivity of Chimel. Shipley v. California,
Among the courts that have considered the question of Chimel's retroactivity, there is a general consensus that Chimel is not to be applied retroactively to searches occurring prior to the date of the Chimel decision (June 23, 1969).
The vast majority of courts have adopted the Stovall form (Stovall v. Denno,
Some courts have refrained from making a determination of retroactivity. Whiteley v. Meachan,
I agree with those courts which have utilized the Stovall view as to the retroactivity of Chimel. See Desist v. United States,
I, therefore, agree with the majority that Chimel does not have retroactive application to searches prior to June 23, 1969, and has no application to the search in the instant case which occurred on January 28, 1968. For this reason I disagree with the majority's unnecessary attempt to distinguish Chimel from the case at bar on the facts. Such distinction, if valid, will be applicable to all post-Chimel searches. The distinction urged by the majority, based on what the officers were looking for, has a tendency to be a mere color matching of the facts, overlooking the proposition that in a search incident to a lawful arrest the officers have the right to search within the prescribed area for both weapons for their own protection and for fruits of the crime.
Since Chimel is not to be applied retroactively, I would merely pass on the validity of the search in question based on the pre-Chimel rules in effect at the time of such search. To do so would avoid the necessity of a remand for further development of the facts or a determination of whether there is harmless constitutional error. Harrington v. California,
Turning to the facts of the case, I think it is clear the officers had probable cause to make a lawful arrest. See Article 14.04, V.A.C.C.P. Knowing that the suspects they sought were armed the officers, obviously fearing for their own safety, waited for additional officers before proceeding to the apartment at 3100 Birmingham. Thereafter, four or five uniformed officers
"Under the law before Chimel the validity of a search incident to a valid arrest depended on the reasonableness of the search in the totality of the circumstances. See United States v. Rabinowitz and Harris v. United States, 1947,
The case at bar is similar to Harris, which involved the search of a four room apartment. There the Court said, "The area which reasonably may be subjected to search is not to be determined by the fortuitous circumstance that the arrest took place in the living room as contrasted to some other room of the apartment." 331 U.S. at p. 152, 67 S.Ct. at p. 1102.
The search in question does not appear to be more extensive than was reasonable under the circumstances. The items searched for and seized related to the criminal operation for which the arrest had been made. Shipley v. California,
For these reasons, I would hold the search in question reasonable and that the trial court did not err in admitting evidence uncovered in the search. I concur.
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