Biggers v. State

Decision Date12 January 1967
Citation219 Tenn. 553,23 McCanless 553,411 S.W.2d 696
Parties, 219 Tenn. 553 Archie Nathaniel BIGGERS, Plaintiff in Error, v. The STATE of Tennessee, Defendant in Error.
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

Looby & Williams, Nashville, Avon N. Williams, Jr., Nashville, of counsel, for plaintiff in error.

George F. McCanless, Atty. Gen., Robert F. Hedgepath, Asst. Atty. Gen., Nashville, for the State.

John Hollins, Asst. Dist. Atty. Gen., Nashville, prosecuted the case for the State in the trial court.


DYER, Justice.

Plaintiff in error, Archie Nathaniel Biggers, herein referred to as defendant, appeals from a conviction of rape for which he has been sentenced to serve twenty years (20) years in the State Vocational Training School for Boys. Defendant at the time of the crime was sixteen years old.

The victim, Mrs. Margaret Beamer, is a married woman with five children. On the night of 22 January 1965 she was at home in her living room sewing. About 9:00 p.m. she started from her living room to the bedroom, which rooms are separated by a hall, and as she reached the hall defendant, with a butcher knife in his hand, grabbed her from behind pulling her to the floor. Her screams brought her daughter out of a bedroom into the hall and when the daughter saw what was happening she also began to scream. Defendant said to Mrs. Beamer, 'You tell her to shut up or I'll kill you both.' Mrs. Beamer ordered the daughter back into the bedroom. Defendant escorted Mrs. Beamer out the back door of the house to a spot about two blocks away where he had sexual relations with her. Upon completion of the sexual act defendant ran away and Mrs. Beamer, returning home, notified police. About 10:15 p.m. on this night Mrs. Beamer was medically examined which revealed she had had sexual intercourse within three (3) hours prior to that time.

During the early hours of 17 August 1965 defendant was arrested for an incident occurring on this night of his arrest and immediately taken to Juvenile Aid. Defendant's mother came to Juvenile Aid and in her presence he was fully advised of his constitutional rights. Later on in the morning defendant was released to the Police Department and Mrs. Beamer, at Police Headquarters, identified defendant as the person who raped her on 22 January 1965.

Defendant as a witness in his own behalf denied any knowledge of the crime. Several witnesses testified to his good character.

The assignments of error are as follows:

1. The evidence preponderates against the verdict of the jury and in favor of the innocence of the accused.

2. The defendant was prejudiced when a witness for the State mentioned other offenses allegedly committed by the defendant for which he was not on trial and for which he had not previously been convicted.

3. The defendant was prejudiced when the Attorney General went outside the evidence in the case while making his final argument to the jury.

4. The defendant was required to give evidence against himself without having been advised of his constitutional rights.

5. The defendant was prejudiced by the action of the Trial Court in refusing to require the State to furnish him a transcript of the trial proceedings.

The first assignment of error is predicated upon the ground the identity of defendant by the victim was so vague, uncertain and unsatisfactory and given under such circumstances as not to have any substantial probative value. This identifiction was made based upon the defendant's size, voice, skin texture and hair. On identification the trial judge asked the victim, 'All right. Is there any doubt in your mind.' To which the victim replied, 'No, there's no doubt.' Identification is a question of fact for the jury. Stubbs v. State, 216 Tenn. 567, 393 S.W.2d 150 (1965). The first assignment of error is overruled.

Under the second assignment of error it is alleged Thomas E. Cathey a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, as a witness for the State, mentioned other offenses allegedly committed by defendant. In defendant's brief these references to other crimes are described as being 'by inference.' We have carefully examined the pages of the transcript cited and find no reference to other crimes. The assignment of error is overruled.

Objection is made, under the third assignment of error, to the following argument by the Assistant District Attorney General:

In many parts of our United States, Gentlemen of the Jury, a case of this nature would never go to trial, and I am sorry to say, its all south of the State of Tennessee, and that is because of this fine woman, Mrs. Beamer's environment, economic circumstances, and situation, she is not considered in those states to have any more rights than a dog and her reproductive organs--'.

The argument above was not completed due to objection by defendant which was sustained by the court. The Assistant District Attorney General did not pursue this line of argument further. Both the defendant and the victim were members of the Negro race, a fact, of course, known to the jury. It is...

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34 cases
  • State v. Harris
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • May 11, 1992
    ...a defendant to provide physical or real evidence does not violate the privilege against self-incrimination. See, e.g., Biggers v. State, 411 S.W.2d 696, 698 (Tenn.1967) (repetition of words); State v. McAlister, 751 S.W.2d 436, 440 (Tenn.Crim.App.1987) (samples of hair and bodily fluids); S......
  • State v. Reid
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
    • May 31, 2001
    ...determination of identity is a question of fact for the jury after a consideration of all competent evidence. See Biggers v. State, 219 Tenn. 553, 411 S.W.2d 696, 697 (Tenn.), cert. granted, 390 U.S. 404, 88 S. Ct. 979 (1968) (affirmed on other grounds); Marable v. State, 203 Tenn. 440, 313......
  • Biggers v. Neil, 20540.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • August 18, 1971
    ...constitutional violations after final state court judgment. And it is clear from the opinion of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, 411 S.W.2d 696 (1967), that it neither considered nor decided the federal constitutional validity of the "show-up" which the District Judge on habeas found The jud......
  • State v. Ivy, No. W2003-00786-CCA-R3-DD (TN 12/30/2004)
    • United States
    • Tennessee Supreme Court
    • December 30, 2004
    ...of identity is a question of fact for the jury after a consideration of all competent evidence. See Biggers v. State, 219 Tenn. 553, 411 S.W.2d 696, 697 (Tenn. 1967), aff'd on other grounds by, 390 U.S. 404, 88 S. Ct. 979 (1968); Marable v. State, 203 Tenn. 440, 313 S.W.2d 451 (Tenn. 1958);......
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