17 A. 1044 (Md. 1889), Beard v. State

Citation:17 A. 1044, 71 Md. 275
Opinion Judge:ALVEY, C.J.
Party Name:BEARD v. STATE.
Attorney:R. Stockett Matthews, for appellant. Wm. Pinckney Whyte, Atty. Gen., and Chas. G. Kerr, State's Atty., for the State.
Judge Panel:Argued before ALVEY, C.J., MILLER, IRVING, STONE, BRYAN, and MCSHERRY, JJ.
Case Date:June 12, 1889
Court:Court of Appeals of Maryland
 
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Page 1044

17 A. 1044 (Md. 1889)

71 Md. 275

BEARD

v.

STATE.

Court of Appeals of Maryland

June 12, 1889

Appeal from criminal court of Baltimore city; C. E. PHELPS, Judge.

Argued before ALVEY, C.J., MILLER, IRVING, STONE, BRYAN, and MCSHERRY, JJ.

R. Stockett Matthews, for appellant.

Wm. Pinckney Whyte, Atty. Gen., and Chas. G. Kerr, State's Atty., for the State.

ALVEY, C.J.

The traverser in this case was indicted for keeping a disorderly house, and, upon trial by a jury, was convicted of the offense. The indictment consists of a single count. It charges that the traverser unlawfully and willfully did keep and maintain "a certain common, ill-governed, and disorderly house there situate; and in the said house, for his own lucre and gain, certain persons of evil name and fame, and of dishonest conversation, to frequent and come together," etc., "unlawfully and willfully did cause and procure; and the said persons in the said house, at unlawful times, as well in the night as in the day, then," etc., "to be and remain, drinking, tippling, cursing, swearing, quarreling, and otherwise misbehaving themselves, unlawfully and willfully did permit," etc.,--"to the great damage and common nuisance of all the liege inhabitants of the state there inhabiting," etc. The indictment is in the ordinary common-law form, and accurately describes the offense with some unnecessary degree of particularity. Rex v. Higginson, 2 Burrows, 1232; 2 Chit. Crim. Law, 673. The offense is that of a common nuisance, and it is necessary that the indictment should contain facts to show that a common nuisance has been created or permitted. This is done by allegation of such facts as show that the traverser maintains, promotes, or continues what is noisome and offensive, or annoying and vexatious, or plainly hurtful to the public, or is a public outrage against common decency or common morality, or which tends plainly and directly to the corruption of the morals, honesty, and good habits of the people; the same being without authority or justification of law. 3 Greenl. Ev. § 184, and the authorities there cited. Such being the general principle upon the subject, it is in the light of and with reference to those principles that the questions raised in this case must be decided.

There were three bills of exceptions taken by the traverser. The first and second exceptions present questions as to the admissibility of evidence. These questions are whether it was competent to the prosecution to prove by witnesses the general reputation or character of the women for lewdness who frequented the house kept by the traverser, and to prove that such women frequented the house in company with men; and whether it was competent to the prosecution to prove by witnesses specific acts of lewdness by some of the women who resorted to the traverser's house, as showing what their habit and vocation really was, though such acts of lewdness did not occur on the premises of the traverser. We can perceive no...

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