50 Cal. 462, 4383, Goldstein v. Black

Docket Nº:4383
Citation:50 Cal. 462
Attorney:C. T. Botts, for the Appellant. Quint & Edgerton and T. J. Bowers, for the Respondent.
Case Date:October 01, 1875
Court:Supreme Court of California

Page 462

50 Cal. 462




No. 4383

Supreme Court of California

October, 1875

Page 463

Appeal from the Probate Court, Marin County.

M. T. Pacheco departed this life, in Marin County, on the 25th day of December, 1873, aged twenty years. William Goldstein, on the 2d day of February, 1874, petitioned the Probate Court to admit to probate the following will:

" In case of my death, it is my will and desire that my dear friend, William Goldstein, to whom I am engaged and about to marry, shall have all the property, both real and personal, of which I shall die seized, and make such disposition of the same as he may deem proper; and I hereby nominate and appoint said William Goldstein as executor of this, my last will, without bonds.

" Witness my hand this 13th day of November, A. D. 1873.

" M. T. Pacheco.

" Witnesses:

" Aaron N. Levy, residence 225 Third street.

" S. Lowe, residence 128 Kearny street."

The deceased left a mother and several brothers and sisters. Maria L. Black, the mother, and the brothers and sisters, who were the heirs at law, contested the application to admit the proposed will to probate on the ground that it was a forgery. The court found that the deceased did not sign the will, and refused to admit it to probate. Theproponent appealed. The witness Crockett testified that he had been a clerk in the clerk's office in the United States District Court between three and four years, and that he had done a good deal of copying and tracing of handwriting, figures, and signatures, since 1870.


C. T. Botts, for the Appellant.

There has been a great difference of opinion amongst jurists, both of the civil and common law, as to the policy of permitting a jury to listen to the opinions of so-called experts, whose only knowledge of the handwriting is derived from a comparison between established signatures with the one in question. Until the 18th Victoria it was uniformly rejected in England, except in the case of very ancient writings, and then only when death and lapse of time had rendered any better testimony unattainable. That it is the lowest and generally the most unsatisfactory of human testimony, to be resorted to only in the absence of any other proof, is the established doctrine of all the courts by whom it has been admitted. (See Bowman v. Plu...

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