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Name: People v. Turner
Case #: A147603
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/10/2017
Summary

The trial court properly admitted evidence of defendant’s prior possession of ammunition to impeach his specific testimony suggesting the police planted the contraband in his bag. Turner was arrested after refusing to leave a restaurant. During an inventory search, officers found a revolver, ammunition, and drugs in his duffel bag. During his trial, the court allowed the prosecution to impeach Turner with his prior arrest for possessing the same type of ammunition about a month before his arrest in this case. On appeal, Turner argued that the trial court erred by admitting evidence of his previous arrest. Held: Affirmed. Prior misconduct can be admissible to impeach a witness by suggesting a particular aspect of the witness’s testimony is untrue. (Andrews v. City and County of San Francisco (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 938, 947.) Turner testified on direct examination that he knew he did not have ammunition in his bag at the time of arrest, and the first time he found out about the contraband was when he returned to the police station to claim his bag. He did not testify that he never possessed ammunition. The trial court allowed the prosecution to impeach Turner with his prior arrest because he opened the door to the implication that officers planted the contraband. There is no requirement that impeachment evidence directly contradict a witness’s testimony to be admissible; it need only tend to prove that the witness is not credible. (See Evid. Code, § 280.) The evidence of Turner’s prior possession of ammunition cast doubt on his defense and “was valid to impeach his testimony because it undermined his credibility about the incident in question.” Additionally, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to exclude the evidence under Evidence Code section 352.

Trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found during an inventory search after his arrest because police had probable cause to arrest him for interfering with a business establishment. Prior to trial, Turner moved to suppress the evidence discovered in his bag during the inventory search. The trial court denied the motion. On appeal, Turner argued that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress. The Court of Appeal disagreed. The determinative issue on appeal was whether there was probable cause to support Turner’s arrest for interfering with a business establishment under Penal Code section 602.1, subdivision (a). Probable cause to arrest exists if facts known to the arresting officer would lead a reasonable person to suspect that an individual is guilty of a crime. (People v. Kraft (2000) 23 Cal.4th 978, 1037.) Section 602.1, subdivision (a) provides that “[a]ny person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner or agent of a business establishment open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or their customers, and who refuses to leave the premises of the business establishment after being requested to leave by the owner or the owner’s agent, or by a peace officer acting at the request of the owner or owner’s agent, is guilty of a misdemeanor . . . .” Turner acknowledged that he refused to leave when asked to do so but argued that this refusal alone does not establish his intent to interfere with the restaurant’s business. However, Turner was asked multiple times over a span of hours to leave the restaurant, and the manager had to interrupt her duties to ask him to leave, to call the police, speak to the officer, and fill out paperwork. The officer had reasonable suspicion that Turner was guilty of violating section 602.1. Turner’s arrest and the subsequent inventory search were valid.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A147603.PDF