The dispositive question in this proceeding for writ of prohibition is whether the enactment of section 351 of the Evidence Code, declaring generally that "Except as otherwise provided by statute, all relevant evidence is admissible," operated as a legislative repeal of the "vicarious exclusionary rule" adopted by this court in People v. Martin (1955) 45 Cal.2d 755 [290 P.2d 855], which permits a criminal defendant to object to the introduction of evidence illegally seized from a third person. We conclude the Legislature did not intend to repeal the Martin rule, and defendant is therefore entitled to the relief for which he prays.
The facts of the case are essentially undisputed. On June 20, 1970, during daylight hours, Police Officer Briscoe observed a small sports car traveling at 45 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone. The vehicle contained three persons: defendant occupied the passenger seat on the extreme right, and seated between defendant and the driver was a 16-year-old juvenile named Patterson. According to Officer Briscoe's testimony at the preliminary examination, when he turned on his red light to signal the driver to stop he saw Patterson look back, reach under the front seat, and put his hand inside his coat.
Officer Briscoe observed no other suspicious circumstances or unusual conduct by the occupants of the car. Nevertheless, on the theory that Patterson's "furtive movements" suggested he might be hiding a weapon, Officer Briscoe immediately ordered him to get out of the car and submit to a pat-down search. In the course of that search the officer felt a lump in Patterson's shirt pocket; although he was "pretty sure ... it was not a weapon," he "had an idea it was pills." He thereupon placed Patterson under arrest for "suspicion of dangerous drugs," and reached into the pocket. It was found to contain a quantity of LSD tablets in a plastic bag. On cross-examination Officer Briscoe acknowledged that he had no warrant for Patterson's arrest or search; that he neither questioned the youth about possession of a weapon nor asked his consent to conduct the search; and that Patterson himself said nothing either before or after that search.
On this showing defendant was held to answer to a felony charge of selling a restricted dangerous drug. (Health & Saf. Code, § 11912.) His motion to suppress the evidence on the ground of unlawful search and seizure (Pen. Code, § 1538.5) was denied. His motion to set aside the information for lack of probable cause (Pen. Code, § 995) was likewise denied, and he seeks review of that ruling by statutory writ of prohibition (Pen. Code, § 999a).
To begin with, it is not disputed that the warrantless arrest and search of Patterson and the seizure of the contraband on his person were illegal. The trial court assumed this to be so, and the People do not contend otherwise.
The controlling issue, accordingly, is whether section 351 was intended by the Legislature to repeal the Martin rule. We shall consider the origin and history first of that rule, then of section 351.
Among the numerous decisions which thereafter implemented various aspects of the Cahan rule, one of the most important was People v. Martin (1955) supra, 45 Cal.2d 755. In that case the police searched certain offices on two occasions and found the defendant among bookmaking paraphernalia. The defendant's story was that he was a stranger who had merely been hired to watch the premises. He moved to set aside charges of bookmaking on the ground of unlawful search and seizure; relying on the federal rule on the question, the People contended that as the defendant disclaimed any interest in the premises or property he had no "standing" to challenge the legality of the searches and seizures. In a unanimous opinion (at pp. 759-760) we squarely rejected this reasoning: "the rule of the lower federal courts is based on the theory that the evidence is excluded to provide a remedy for a wrong done to the defendant, and that accordingly, if the defendant has not been wronged he is entitled to no remedy. [Citation.] In adopting the exclusionary rule, however, this court recognized that it could not be justified on that theory (People v. Cahan, 44 Cal.2d 434, 443 [282 P.2d 905, 50 A.L.R.2d 513]), and based its decision on the ground that `other remedies have completely failed to secure compliance with the constitutional provisions on the part of police officers with the attendant result that the courts under the old rule have been constantly required to participate in, and in effect condone, the lawless activity of law enforcement officers.' (44 Cal.2d at p. 445.)"
The Martin opinion went on to explain (at p. 760) the compelling policy reasons underlying our holding. The evil which gave rise to the Cahan decision, we said, "occurs whenever the government is allowed to profit by its own wrong by basing a conviction on illegally obtained evidence,
The Martin rule was thereafter consistently adhered to by this court. (See, e.g., People v. Gale (1956) 46 Cal.2d 253, 257 [294 P.2d 13]; People v. Kitchens (1956) 46 Cal.2d 260, 264 [294 P.2d 17]; People v. Perez (1965) 62 Cal.2d 769, 776 [44 Cal.Rptr. 326, 401 P.2d 934]; In re Sterling (1965) 63 Cal.2d 486, 489 [47 Cal.Rptr. 205, 407 P.2d 5]; People v. Butler (1966) 64 Cal.2d 842, 845 [52 Cal.Rptr. 4, 415 P.2d 819].) Indeed, by 1963 the rule had become so embedded in the law that we held a trial counsel's failure to know and invoke it constituted such a lack of diligence or competence as to reduce the proceedings to "a farce or a sham." (People v. Ibarra (1963) 60 Cal.2d 460, 464-465 [34 Cal.Rptr. 863, 386 P.2d 487].) We there explained, "This rule should be a commonplace to any attorney engaged in criminal trials. It was established in People v. Martin, supra, within a year of this court's adoption of the exclusionary rule (People v. Cahan, 44 Cal.2d 434 [282 P.2d 905, 50 A.L.R.2d 513]) in one of the group of cases decided shortly after the Cahan case to articulate the rules governing the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. It may be readily found in standard reference works. [Citations.]"
It is against this background that we view the enactment of the Evidence Code and particularly of section 351 thereof. The Evidence Code had its genesis in 1956, the year after the Cahan and Martin decisions, when the Legislature directed the California Law Revision Commission to determine whether the law of evidence in this state should be revised to conform to the Uniform Rules of Evidence approved three years earlier by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. In 1964 the law revision commission produced its first study, tentatively recommending the revision and then adoption of the Uniform Rules of Evidence. (6 Cal. Law Revision Com. Rep., passim.) No action was taken, however, and in 1965 the commission published its second study, recommending instead the enactment of a "new, separate Evidence Code which will include the best features of the Uniform Rules and the existing California law." (7 Cal.
This being the goal, it is not surprising that the commission proceeded with due circumspection whenever it proposed to change the existing law: "the bulk of the Evidence Code is existing California law that has been drafted and organized so that it is easy to find and to understand. There are some major changes in the law, but in each case the change has been recommended only after a careful weighing of the need for the evidence against the policy to be served by its exclusion." (Italics added.) (Id. at p. 37.)
This conclusion is reinforced when we analyze the language and setting of section 351, which states in its entirety that "Except as otherwise provided by statute, all relevant evidence is admissible." The section is part of the "General Provisions" article of the chapter on admitting and excluding evidence, itself a part of the "General Provisions" division of the code. It is preceded by a complementary declaration that "No evidence is admissible except relevant evidence" (§ 350), and followed by equally broad provisions recognizing the discretion of the court to exclude evidence when its probative value is outweighed by probable prejudice (§ 352), the effect of the erroneous admission or exclusion of evidence (§§ 353, 354), the use of evidence of limited admissibility (§ 355), and the right to introduce the whole of a writing or conversation when part thereof has been offered (§ 356). None of these companion sections effectuates any change whatever in the law, as the commission carefully notes in each case.
Nor is such a change suggested by the brief official comment to section 351, devoted to an illustrative compilation of statutes which derogate from the general rule of admissibility but are maintained in force by the exception of section 351. It is true that the Martin rule is not embodied in a statute as such, but the code does not limit the exception to legislative enactments. Section 230 defines the word "statute" to include "a constitutional provision," and the comment thereto recites that "when a particular section is subject to any exceptions `otherwise provided by statute,' exceptions provided
The People would apparently have us read "provided by" to mean "required by," but the draftsmen of the code used the term in a broader sense. The commission's study explained that "The code will not, however, stifle all court development of the law of evidence. In some instances — the Privileges division, for example — the code to a considerable extent precludes further development of the law except by legislation. But, in other instances, the Evidence Code is deliberately framed to permit the courts to work out particular problems or to extend declared principles into new areas of the law." (7 Cal. Law Revision Com. Rep., p. 34.)
Even more importantly, the commission recognized as an obvious truth that "the code neither limits nor defines the extent of the exclusionary evidence rules contained in the California and United States Constitutions. The meaning and scope of the rules of evidence that are based on constitutional principles will continue to be developed by the courts." (Ibid.; italics added.) Identical language appears in the comment to section 351, which explains that the section "abolishes all limitations on the admissibility of relevant evidence except those that are based on a statute, including a constitutional provision." (Italics added.) Tested by this language, the Martin rule of standing comes within the exception declared by section 351. As our opinion in Martin made plain, that rule was declared solely for the purpose of implementing the Cahan decision and for "all of the reasons that compelled us to adopt the exclusionary rule" (45 Cal.2d at p. 761). It is true that, at the time and in the absence of a constitutional mandate from the United States Supreme Court, we deemed it sufficient to treat
It follows that even though the Martin rule may not be "required by" the prevailing federal interpretation of the Fourth Amendment (Alderman v. United States (1969) supra, 394 U.S. 165), it is at least "based on" the constitutionally compelled Cahan and Mapp principles. By the very terms of the comment to section 351, therefore, it is exempt from the operation of that section. Here, as in People v. Starr (1970) 11 Cal.App.3d 574, 583 [89 Cal.Rptr. 906], "We do not believe that such a firmly established and fundamental rule of the criminal law of years' standing was overruled by any vague and indecisive provision in the Evidence Code — nor do we believe that the Legislature so intended."
Let a peremptory writ of prohibition issue as prayed.
Peters, J., Tobriner, J., and Sullivan, J., concurred.
I concur in the result reached by the majority, but only under the compulsion of the "vicarious exclusionary rule" adopted in People v. Martin, 45 Cal.2d 755 [290 P.2d 855]. In Martin, this court based its decision upon Fourth Amendment principles and relied (pp. 759-760) upon an analysis of prior United States Supreme Court decisions no longer apposite in view of the recent decision in Alderman v. United States, 394 U.S. 165, 171-176 [22 L.Ed.2d 176, 185-188, 89 S.Ct. 961]. It is clear, therefore, that the majority reaffirm Martin solely upon the basis of their own preferences regarding the scope of the exclusionary rule, and have abandoned further reliance upon federal constitutional principles, as defined by the United States Supreme Court. In view of the apparent need for uniform standards in the search and seizure area, I deem such a course improvident.
I would also point out that, contrary to the majority's suggestion, the "pat-down" search of Patterson's outer clothing was entirely reasonable and proper under the circumstances in this case. Unlike the ordinary "furtive gesture" situation wherein the officer observes only some innocent movement of the body (see Gallik v. Superior Court, 5 Cal.3d 855, 861-862 [97 Cal.Rptr. 693, 489 P.2d 573]; People v. Superior Court, 3 Cal.3d 807, 828-831 [91 Cal.Rptr. 729, 478 P.2d 449]), in the instant case Officer Briscoe testified that when he turned on his red light to signal the driver to stop, Patterson looked back, reached under the front seat, looked back once more, and "then he reached in his left or right front pocket, shoved his hand in his coat as the vehicle pulled over to the side of the road." Briscoe testified further that he told Patterson to get out of the car and searched him "Because I felt he was hiding a weapon."
The majority blithely assume that "the `furtive gesture' observed by Officer
In People v. Superior Court, supra, 3 Cal.3d 807, 829, we acknowledged "the dangers daily faced by the men who bear the burden of policing our streets and highways, and ... the fact that even a minor traffic citation incident can occasionally erupt into violence," and we directed our courts to "do all in their constitutional powers to minimize these risks." In my view it is clearly within our "constitutional powers" to hold that an officer who, in the course of stopping a speeding car, observes a passenger reach under his seat and then thrust his hand into his coat pocket, has reasonable grounds to believe that the passenger may have armed himself. (See People v. Collins, 1 Cal.3d 658 [83 Cal.Rptr. 179, 463 P.2d 403], assuming arguendo the propriety of a pat-down search for weapons when a theft suspect thrust his hand into his pants pocket.) Accordingly, Officer Briscoe properly conducted a pat-down search of Patterson's outer clothing. The further search, however, inside Patterson's pocket was unjustified once the officer determined that Patterson did not possess a weapon. (People v. Collins, supra.) Thus, I concur in the majority's conclusion that the subsequent seizure of contraband was illegal.
Wright, C.J., and McComb, J., concurred.
The petition of the real party in interest for a rehearing was denied December 29, 1971. Wright, C.J., McComb, J., and Burke, J., were of the opinion that the petition should be granted.