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The People v. James Michael Compton

December 13, 2010


(Solano County Super. Ct. No. VCR199966)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simons, J.

P. v. Compton CA1/5


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

After the trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence (Pen. Code, § 1538.5), defendant James Michael Compton pled guilty pursuant to a negotiated disposition to possession of methamphetamine for sale (Health & Saf. Code, § 11378).*fn1 His counsel has advised us that examination of the record reveals no arguable issues. (Anders v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 738 (Anders); People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436 (Wende).) Counsel informed defendant that a brief pursuant to Wende and Anders was being filed and that defendant had the right to personally file a supplemental brief in this case within 30 days. No supplemental brief has been filed. We affirm.


On September 11, 2008, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation parole agent Bautista went to a Benicia residence looking for a parolee at large, "Mr. Lake." At the residence Lake was taken into custody. Two Solano County Sheriff's deputies remained inside the residence continuing to interview suspects after having found drugs and drug paraphernalia therein. While Bautista was standing outside and after placing Lake in his vehicle, defendant drove up, parked and walked toward the residence and inside the yard. Bautista yelled "Hey" to defendant to get his attention and asked what he was doing there. Defendant replied he came there to visit his friends or his cousin. Bautista told defendant that, if he wanted to "go inside or to remain here," he needed to be searched; otherwise he needed to leave the premises.

According to Bautista, defendant said "okay," turned around and put his arms down in a submissive way so that Bautista could take control of him. Bautista believed that defendant was submitting to a search. Bautista then placed defendant in a rear wrist lock and began to search him for "any type of contraband." In defendant's right front pants pocket, Bautista found a prescription-like bottle which he opened. Inside the bottle, Bautista found three baggies of methamphetamine. Bautista then handcuffed defendant and placed him under arrest.

On cross-examination, Bautista said the residence was considered a crime scene. Because Bautista did not know defendant, did not know whether he had any weapons, and did not know the purpose of his visit, Bautista did not want him to enter the residence unescorted while the deputies were inside. Bautista clarified that the reason for his patdown search of defendant was "definitely for officer safety."

Solano County Sheriff's Detective Hipol drove to the residence after learning of defendant's arrest. Based on his training and experience, Hipol opined that the substance inside the pill container retrieved from defendant was methamphetamine. After Hipol read defendant his Miranda rights (Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436), he agreed to speak to Hipol. Defendant told Hipol the following: The baggies seized from him contained methamphetamine. He bought the methamphetamine from a "Mexican" man the week before, but could not remember the man's name. He planned to sell the methamphetamine, and had been selling methamphetamine for the last week in amounts between a one-quarter gram and a gram in order to support his habit. He had more methamphetamine in his bedroom at an address on Military East in Benicia. After a detective read him a written consent to search his home, defendant agreed to sign it on the condition that the search would be limited to his bedroom.*fn3 He explained he lived with his elderly mother and did not want to bother her with his problems.

Thereafter, detectives went to defendant's home and searched his bedroom, where he said they would find methamphetamine and a scale. Inside a metal box Hipol found a pouch containing three bags of methamphetamine weighing about 40 grams. He also found generic Valium pills, more than $700 in cash, 21 small blue bags and a triple beam scale. Hipol opined the methamphetamine was possessed for sale.

In denying the suppression motion, the court found Bautista's conduct in stopping defendant was reasonable. It also found that defendant consented to the search of his person and of his bedroom.

Defendant renewed his suppression motion in the trial court and argued the search of his person was not consensual and the search of his bedroom arose from his invalid consent of the search of his person. In denying the renewed suppression motion, the trial court concluded defendant consented to the search of his person.

Thereafter, defendant executed a waiver of rights form and pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine for sale in exchange for dismissal of the transportation of methamphetamine charge and a promise of ...

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