9 Mass. 402 (Mass. 1812), Commonwealth v. Moore

Citation:9 Mass. 402
Party Name:Commonwealth v. Isaac Moore
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
 
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Page 402

9 Mass. 402 (Mass. 1812)

Commonwealth

v.

Isaac Moore

Supreme Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex

October, 1812

OPINION

The defendant, being indicted at this term for a larceny, was put to the bar on the second day of the sittings here after the term which were holden by Parker, J., and, being called by his name, made no answer, but exhibited an appearance of great agitation his limbs shaking and his face being much distorted. The indictment was read to him audibly and distinctly by the clerk, who then inquired of him whether he was guilty or not guilty. He made no answer, still appearing convulsed, and seemed not to have attended to the reading by the clerk. After a short interval, the judge addressed the prisoner, and informed him that the indictment would be again read to him, and that, unless he answered to it, he might lose his opportunity of a trial. The clerk then went near to the bar where the prisoner stood, and again read to him the indictment, and inquired of him whether he was guilty or not guilty. He made no answer, still continuing the appearance of being convulsed.

The prisoner was then remanded. On the next day, he was again set to the bar, and the judge stated to him that the indictment would be again read to him, and that, if he did not answer, a jury would be empanelled to try whether he was mute voluntarily or from the act of God, and that, if by their verdict it should appear to be voluntarily, he would be sentenced, and lose all benefit of a trial for the offence with which he was charged. The clerk again went to the bar, read the indictment to him, and called upon him to plead, as before. He made no answer, but appeared composed, and spoke very distinctly, complaining that he was deaf.

Page 403

Twelve of the jurors, who had been returned to serve during this term of the Court, were immediately empanelled, and the following oath administered to them, viz.: --

"You shall diligently inquire, and a true verdict return, on behalf of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, whether Isaac...

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