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Name: People v. Camel
Case #: C075573
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/21/2017
Summary

The totality-of-the-evidence probable cause test (Illinois v. Gates) applies to motions to suppress evidence obtained by wiretap. Camel was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and other crimes. On appeal he argued the trial court erred in applying the totality-of-the-evidence test (Illinois v. Gates (1983) 462 U.S. 213) to find probable cause for the wiretap, rather than requiring a particularized corroboration of informant tips (the “Aguilar-Spinelli” test; Aguilar v. Texas (1964) 378 U.S. 108; Spinelli v. U.S. (1969) 393 U.S. 410). Held: Affirmed. A wiretap may be authorized where there is probable cause to believe the target was involved in specified crimes (Pen. Code, § 629.52, subd. (a)). Under California’s Wiretap Act, a motion to suppress wiretap evidence (Pen. Code, § 629.72) is subject to review based on the procedures set forth for motions to suppress evidence (Pen. Code, § 1538.5). Proposition 8 amended the California Constitution to eliminate independent state grounds for exclusion of evidence. However, the truth-in-evidence provisions of Proposition 8 do not apply to a subsequent statute passed by at least a two-thirds vote in each house of the Legislature. The Wiretap Act is a post-Proposition 8 statute passed by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature. Camel argued that the suppression of evidence obtained via wiretap is therefore not prohibited by Proposition 8’s truth-in-evidence provisions and that the previously employed Aguilar-Spinelli test applies. However, the Wiretap Act provides for a motion to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment or the Wiretap Act, not in violation of the California Constitution. This invokes application of the totality-of-the-evidence test.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C075573.PDF