Adkins v. State

Decision Date08 November 1973
Citation287 So.2d 451,291 Ala. 695
PartiesIn re David ADKINS v. STATE of Alabama. Ex parte STATE of Alabama ex rel. ATTORNEY GENERAL. SC 345.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

William J. Baxley, Atty. Gen., and Richard F. Calhoun, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State, petitioner.

Wade H. Baxley and Alto V. Lee, III, Dothan, for respondent.

MERRILL, Justice.

The sole question in this case is whether the trial court erred in overruling the demurrer to the indictment charging the defendant with selling marijuana, where one of the grounds was that it failed to allege the name of the vendee. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that the trial court did err. We granted certiorari and now hold that the ruling of the trial court was without error.

The indictment charged that the defendant 'did sell, furnish, or give away marijuana contrary to law, against the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama.' This indictment was in the terms of the statute, Act No. 1407, § 401, Acts of Alabama 1971, and listed in the 1958 Recompilation as Tit. 22, § 258(47)(a), which makes it a crime for 'any person who possesses, sells, furnishes, gives away, obtains, or attempts to obtain * * *' certain listed 'controlled substances' including marijuana.

In Duin v. State, 288 Ala. 329, 260 So.2d 602, the following appears:

'We quote from Clark v. State, 19 Ala. 552:

"It has been repeatedly held by this court, that where a statute creates a new offense, all the law requires is a description of the offense in the indictment in the terms of the statute enacting it.'

'See also Thomas v. State, 156 Ala. 166, 47 So. 257. Anderson, Justice, writing for the court said:

"The statute makes the Code form of indictments sufficient in all cases in which said forms are applicable. * * * In statutory offenses, where no form of indictment is given, it is usually sufficient to follow the statute. * * * Mr. Bishop in his work on Statutory Crimes * * * says: 'Follow the Statute.--This rule is specially safe and in most instances sufficient, in various forms of the offense now under consideration. Rarely will the allegations require expansion beyond the statutory terms.''

'Here, the indictment was framed in the words of the statute applying to the alleged sale of marijuana and kindred items mentioned in the statute. The legislature has not prescribed a form for the indictment.

'In view of the statutory allegations in the indictment that substantially follow the language of the statute, we cannot agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals that the indictment, because the name of the vendee was omitted, would not support the judgment of conviction.'

In Jackson v. State, 91 Ala. 55, 8 So. 773 (1890), this court, per Coleman, J., (the grandfather of our present Justice Coleman), said:

'The statutes of this state have changed the common-law rules of criminal pleading, dispensing with many averments which were regarded as indispensable, reducing indictments rather to a statement of legal conclusions than of facts.'

Title 15, §§ 230 and 232 (then §§ 4366 and 4368) of the Code were cited and applied. The indictment in that case charged that Jackson 'did attempt to feloniously take and carry' etc. This court held the indictment to be sufficient, even though there was no specific form for an 'attempt' in the Code.

Title 15, §§ 230 and 232 provide:

' § 230. The manner of stating the act constituting the offense, as set forth in the forms given in article 7, of this chapter, is sufficient in all cases in which the forms there given are applicable; in other cases, forms may be used as nearly similar as the nature of the case and the rules prescribed in this chapter will permit.

' § 232. The indictment must state the facts constituting the offense in ordinary and concise language, without prolixity or repetition, in such a manner as to enable a person of common understanding to know what is intended, and with that degree of certainty which will enable the court, on conviction, to pronounce the proper judgment; and in no case are the words 'force of arms' or 'contrary to the form of the statute' necessary.'

In Jones v. State, 136 Ala. 118, 34 So. 236, the indictment charged that the defendant 'did within the county of Hale, in the State of Alabama, sell spirituous, vinous or malt liquors, without a license and contrary to law.' The indictment followed the statute and Form 79 in § 4923, Criminal Code, 1896. A demurrer was interposed on the ground that the indictment failed to allege the name of the vendee. The demurrer was overruled. The defendant contended that it was necessary to name the person to whom the sale was made. This court said:

'* * * This contention proceeds upon the assertion that the statute is unconstitutional--that it is violative of section 7 of the Bill of Rights, Constitution of 1875 (Section 6 of Constitution of 1901), which guarantees to defendant the right 'to demand the nature and cause of the accusation.' * * *'

The court rejected the contention that the statutory form was unconstitutional and stated: 'The demurrer was properly overruled.'

In Lawson v. State, 151 Ala. 95, 44 So. 50, the defendant interposed a demurrer to the indictment because it failed to allege to whom the defendant sold or gave away the liquor. The court held 'that the demurrer attacking the form of the indictment was properly overruled.'

In Grace v. State, 1 Ala.App. 211, 56 So. 25, the contention that 'the indictment must allege the name of the person to whom the gift was made (was rejected).'

In Freeman v. State, 4 Ala.App. 193, 59 So. 228, the court said: 'The only question presented to us goes to the sufficiency of the indictment. The indictment was not subject to demurrer because it failed to name the party to whom the liquor was sold.'

In Thomas v. State, 13 Ala.App. 421, 69 So. 413, the court was concerned with an indictment for perjury and the opinion contains the following: 'But, as the law does not require that the name of the person to whom liquor has been sold be alleged in an indictment or affidavit charging another person with the selling (citations omitted), certainly it cannot be rationally contended that the law requires such name to be given in an indictment for perjury against one for testifying falsely in such a case as the former.'

In Allen v. State, 33 Ala.App. 70, 30 So.2d 479, the Court of Appeals, per Harwood, J., held an indictment for selling adulterated milk sufficient and said that Counts 1 and 2 which were in the terms of the statute 'adequately informed the accused of the offense he was charged with committing, and the court properly overruled the demurrers thereto.'

In Baker v. State, 39 Ala.App. 221, 96 So.2d 821, the indictment charged that the defendant 'did unlawfully expose or exhibit his sexual organs or private parts in a vulgar and indecent manner on a public road in Randolph County, Alabama, contrary to law.' This followed the statute setting up the offense which is listed as Tit. 14, § 326(1) of the 1958 Recompilation. The court said:

'The complaint and the indictment followed the wording of the statute, supra, and were entirely sufficient to inform the appellant of the offense with which he was charged. The court therefore correctly overruled the demurrers filed to each charging document.'

In Griffith v. State, 47 Ala.App. 378, 255 So.2d 48, cert. den. 287 Ala. 735, 255 So.2d 52, 405 U.S. 1042, 92 S.Ct. 1317, 31 L.Ed.2d 583, the Court of Criminal Appeals upheld an indictment against defendant for practicing law after disbarment which stated neither the name of the client nor the cause in which representation was furnished. The court said: 'Where the offense is statutory it is sufficient to allege it in the words of the statute provided it sufficiently defines the crime.'

In Young v. State, (Miss.), 245 So.2d 26, the court said:

'The indictment charged that on March 6, 1969, defendant wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously sold marijuana contrary to the statute. This indictment charged the essentials of the offense. It was not necessary to aver the name of the person who purchased the marijuana.'

In People v. Adams, 46 Ill.2d 200, 263 N.E.2d 490, the Supreme Court of Illinois said:

'We consider that it is not necessary that an indictment for the sale of a narcotic drug name the purchaser in order to satisfy this constitutional requirement. Section 3 of the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1969, ch. 38, par. 22--3) declares it to be 'unlawful for any person to * * * possess * * * sell * * * any narcotic drug, except as authorized in this Act.' The statute creating the offense makes no reference to the purchaser of the drug and his identity is not an element of the crime. The gravamen of Many Federal courts considering the the offense is the unlawful sale itself. sufficiency of indictments returned under a Federal statute which resembles ours have also concluded that the purchaser of the drug need not be named in the indictment. The Federal statute makes it unlawful for any person 'to sell, barter, exchange, or give away narcotic drugs' except under specified exceptions and circumstances. (26 U.S.C., sec. 4705(a).) In Clay v. United States (10th cir. 1963), 326 F.2d 196, 199, the court, affirming a conviction based on an indictment which did not include the name of the purchaser, stated: 'The statute makes no provision or requirement with respect to the identity of the person to whom an illegal sale is made and we must therefore conclude * * * that the identity of such person is not an element of the offense.' Too, in Collins v. Markley (7th cir. 1965), 346 F.2d 230, it was held that the purchaser need not be named in an indictment under that statute. See also, Aggers v. United States (8th cir. 1966), 366 F.2d 744; United States v. Jackson (3rd cir. 1965), 344 F.2d 158; Sanchez v. United States (1st cir. 1965), 341 F.2d 379, cert. den. 381 U.S. 940, 85 S.Ct. 1775, 14 L.Ed.2d...

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