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People v. Pic'l

Supreme Court of California
646 P.2d 847 (1982)


Facts

A racing car and related equipment worth $120,000 were stolen from Douglas Kerhulas, a professional drag racer. Randall Martin was arrested for the theft after he attempted to sell some of the stolen items to a body shop. After Martin was released on bail, Kerhulas contacted Martin and offered to give him $3000 in exchange for the return of the remaining stolen items. Soon thereafter, an anonymous caller contacted Kerhulas, stated that he, Martin, and others had had Kerhulas’s property, and would return it to Kerhulas in exchange for money and a promise of non-prosecution. Kerhulas contacted the police about this offer, and the police monitored the ongoing negotiations. A meeting was arranged, at which Kerhulas met Dean Pic’l (defendant), an attorney who had drawn up an agreement for Kerhulas to sign that required Kerhulas to promise to do everything in his power to have the criminal charges dismissed and to refuse to participate in the prosecution if the charges continued. After Kerhulas signed the agreement and gave Pic’l $2500, Pic’l led Kerhulas to a house where the stolen property was being stored. The police observed the exchange and arrested Pic’l. He was charged with conspiracy, extortion, bribing a witness to not attend trial, bribing a witness to withhold testimony, compounding a felony, and receiving stolen property. The trial court dismissed both bribery-of-a-witness charges and the compounding a felony charge. Pic’l was convicted of conspiracy, extortion, and receiving stolen property. The prosecution appealed the dismissal of the other charges.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mosk, J.)

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