Campbell v. State

Decision Date12 November 1964
Citation384 S.W.2d 4,19 McCanless 95,215 Tenn. 95
Parties, 215 Tenn. 95 Bobby CAMPBELL v. STATE of Tennessee.
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

R. D. Field, Greenville, for plaintiff in error.

George F. McCanless, Atty. Gen., Thomas E. Fox, Asst. Atty. Gen., Nashville, for the State.

BURNETT, Chief Justice.

Campbell was convicted of burglary and sentenced to serve four years in the penitentiary under this indictment. At the same time the burglary indictment was tried, he was tried and convicted of larceny under another indictment and sentenced to serve two years in the State penitentiary. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

Numerous assignments of error have been made, but since, after thoroughly considering this record and authorities, we have concluded the case must be reversed, we will not consider these assignments seriatim, but will proceed to the assignment and the error we feel is fatal to this judgment.

The assignment that must be sustained is that the trial judge committed error in permitting in evidence an extrajudicial statement made by Campbell amounting to a confession, because in taking this statement the officers did not comply with the Constitution of Tennessee nor with that of the United States on the question of self-incrimination.

A business house in Greeneville was broken into on October 12, 1963, at about midnight. Several items of property were taken. Another business house was likewise broken into on the same night, or at least the police were informed of it while investigating the previous burglary and a small amount of cash was taken in this latter burglary.

A number of articles with the name of the concern that had been burglarized were found in the home of the grandmother of Bobby Campbell on October 12. Bobby, his brother and another person were found about a quarter of a mile from the grandmother's home sitting in a car about 5:00 or 5:30 a. m. on the morning of October 12. Bobby was drunk when he was arrested and locked up. Later the officers went back to the grandmother's home and found hidden there several other items of property taken from the place that had been burglarized, including a Notary's seal of an employee of this concern.

Campbell testified in his own behalf and he denied breaking into either of the places; he also testified that he had been at his aunt's home about 9:00 o'clock on the night in question and said he could remember nothing that he did between 10:00 o'clock on that night until about 1:00 o'clock the following morning because of being drunk. He also testified that he was placed in a dungeon in jail which was dirty and cold, and the only way he could drink his coffee was to bend a tobacco can and drink from this. He likewise said that he told the Chief of Police that he had committed these crimes because he was afraid of the Chief of Police, the Chief of Police having whipped him once or twice before.

It was shown in the record that the present counsel for Campbell went to the police station on Monday following this arrest on Sunday morning and requested to see Bobby Campbell, but on the first two occasions he was denied permission to see him, and then, when he went back the third time, the Chief of Police told him that he, the Chief of Police, would like to talk to Campbell first and to give him thirty minutes to do it and then the attorney could see him. This request by the Chief of Police to the attorney was granted by the attorney. It was during this thirty minute period while the Chief of Police talked to Campbell that the alleged confession was made. In this confession the defendant told how he broke into both places, which was corroborated by different officers, showing that a window had been broken and he entered through it and the use of a type of iron bar to pry open the machine where some money was taken, and by an employee of one of the companies who stated he found a small piece of metal which indicated that it had come from the breaking of the machine, etc.

If the confession of this boy is admitted, it, along with the corroborating evidence, is sufficient for a conviction. The confession is supported by adequate corroborative evidence. If the confession is admissible the case cannot be reversed on its facts since the jury has resolved the conflicts of the testimony in favor of the State. Hargrove v. State, 199 Tenn. 25, 281 S.W.2d 692.

The Attorney General frankly admits that the question of whether or not this confession should have been submitted is a serious one, and, in effect, from the whole tenor of his brief feels that it warrants reversal. One of the officers on this question testifies: 'I believe that the Chief told him that if he wanted to tell the truth that when the case came up, naturally we'd tell the Attorney General if he made the statement, that he made the statement and that he cooperated, if he cooperated, or just what he done, but as far as any promises I don't know if we promised him anything.' This same officer on cross-examination admitted that in the preliminary hearing of the cause that he did tell the defendant it would certainly be to his, the defendant's, favor if he wanted to cooperate with the officers by talking about the two places burglarized.

The City Attorney who was present at the time the confession was made had this to say:

'There were no promises as such, the Chief didn't say, if you confess to this you will get three years instead of five. He did say this, the Court, the officers, and everybody else will treat you better if you confess than if we have to go through the rigamarole of investigation, it was a lot more detailed than that, but the gist of the thing was, it wasn't a promise of acquittal or letting him off, it was just that people would look toward him with a better view if he would confess.'

In the outset hereof we referred to the fact that this defendant, Campbell, testified that he gave this statement to the Chief of Police because he was afraid of him; that he had been whipped three or four times before by him. The Chief of Police did not deny these statements of the defendant, but says that the confession was voluntarily given. There is no claim anywhere in this record that this boy was advised of his constitutional rights to remain silent, or that he was warned that his answers might be used against him, or about his rights respecting a consultation with an attorney. The fact of the business is his attorney was refused the right to see him on two occasions on the morning of the day after the arrest and on the third occasion was only allowed to see this defendant after the Chief of Police had talked to him some thirty minutes and elicited this confession.

When the officers testified as to what this boy had told them, and this was objected to, the counsel for the defendant was allowed to cross-examine those testifying and, after he had done so, he asked permission of the court to put on other witnesses on the question of whether or not the confession was properly given. The court refused this and said he was satisfied that the confession was voluntarily made, and that he would bear the other witnesses when he came to them, or something to that effect. Apparently though there were no additional witnesses called by the defendant to show that the confession was made involuntarily or because of a promise. The State thinks, since no additional witnesses were called after counsel had been refused by the court to call other witnesses on the point at the time, that under Woodruff v. State, 164 Tenn. 530, 51 S.W.2d 843, this is not harmful error. The Court there under the circumstances of that case held that it was not error for the trial judge to refuse a hearing on the question. The circumstances in that case were that the trial judge offered to grant such a hearing at the close of the State's proof and counsel for the defendant presented no evidence. Under such circumstances it was held by this Court in the Woodruff case that this was not error.

The admissibility of a confession in this State is not a matter for submission to the jury. It has long been the rule in...

To continue reading

Request your trial
13 cases
  • Tate v. Trialco Scrap, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Tennessee
    • June 15, 1989
    ... ... This court has jurisdiction based upon diversity of citizenship. The law to be applied is that of the State of Tennessee. Since there is no Tennessee law directly on point, this court's duty is to predict what law the Tennessee Supreme Court would apply ... ...
  • United States v. State of New Jersey, 14833
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • May 20, 1965
    ...(1964); State v. Dufour, 206 A.2d 82 (R.I.1965); State v. Hall, 397 P.2d 261, 268 (Idaho 1964) (opinion of McQuade, J.); Campbell v. State, 384 S.W. 2d 4 (Tenn.1964). The appellate courts of Illinois, People v. Hartgraves, 31 Ill.2d 375, 202 N.E.2d 33 (1964), cert. denied, 85 S.Ct. 1104 (19......
  • Com. v. Negri
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Supreme Court
    • September 29, 1965
    ...14 L.Ed.2d 710 (1965); Oregon v. Neely, 395 P.2d 557 (Or.1964); Massachusetts v. McCarthy, 200 N.E.2d 264 (Mass.1964); Campbell v. Tennessee, 384 S.W.2d 4 (Tenn.1964); and, United States v. Guerra, 334 F.2d 138 (2d Cir. 1964), cert. denied, 379 U.S. 936, 85 S.Ct. 337, 13 L.Ed.2d 346 (1964).......
  • Lokos v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • November 18, 1965
    ...283, 139 S.E.2d 558; State v. McLeod, 1 Ohio St.2d 60, 203 N.E. 2d 349; Commonwealth v. Patrick, 416 Pa. 437, 206 A.2d 295; Campbell v. State (Tenn.), 384 S.W.2d 4; Ward v. Commonwealth, 205 Va. 564, 138 S.E.2d We do not think Escobedo requires a reversal of this case. Another case decided ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT