Cliff v. People, 11896.

Docket Nº11896.
Citation269 P. 907, 84 Colo. 254
Case DateJuly 02, 1928
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

+269 P. 907

84 Colo. 254


No. 11896.

Supreme Court of Colorado

July 2, 1928

Error to District Court, Routt County; Charles E. Herrick, Judge.

Allen Cliff was convicted of embezzlement, and he brings error.

Affirmed. [269 P. 909]

[84 Colo. 256] Paul P. Prosser, of Denver, and W. C. Reilly, of Steamboat Springs, for plaintiff in error.

William L. Boatright, Atty. Gen., and William W. Gaunt, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the People.


Allen Cliff, hereinafter referred to as the defendant, was found guilty of embezzlement, and was sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary. He claims that reversible errors were committed.

1. It is claimed that the prosecution was under section 6734 of the Compiled Laws (act of 1907); that that section, so far as it relates to bankers, was impliedly repealed by the act of 1913 (C. L. § 2675). This objection was made first by a motion to quash the information, and was renewed several times during and after the trial. The act of 1907 relates to the crime of larceny by embezzlement. It is a general statute on that subject. The act of 1913 is a special statute relating only to banks and banking. It makes embezzlement by a banker a felony regardless of the amount embezzled (C. L. § 2740); whereas, under the act of 1907, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor depends upon the amount embezzled (C. L. §§ 6734, 6719, 6738). The maximum penalty under the act of 1913 is confinement in the penitentiary for 20 years and a fine of $2,000 (C. L. § 2740); [84 Colo. 257] whereas, under the act of 1907, the maximum penalty that can be imposed is confinement in the penitentiary for 10 years. It clearly was the intention of the Legislature to withdraw from the operation of the earlier and general act the crime of embezzlement by bankers and place it in a special class by itself. This being true, it follows that, so far as bankers are concerned, the act of 1913 supersedes and impliedly repeals the act of 1907.

2. Is the information sufficient under the act of 1913? The defendant claims that it is not. Section 23 of that act (C. L. § 2675) provides:

'No officer, director, owner or employé of any bank shall directly or by indirection, embezzle, abstract or misapply or cause to be embezzled, abstracted or misapplied, any of the funds or securities or other property of or under the control of a bank, with intent to deceive, injure, cheat wrong or defraud any person.'

The information charges:

'That Allen Cliff, late of the county of Routt, and state of Colorado, on or about the 1st day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty-six at and within the county and state aforesaid then and there being an officer, to wit, president of the Routt County Bank, a corporation then and there duly incorporated and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Colorado, did then and there without consent of the said Routt County Bank fraudulently and feloniously embezzle and convert to his, the said Allen Cliff's, own use, the sum of $4,000 in money of the value of $4,000 of the personal property and moneys belonging to and in possession of the said Routt County Bank with the intent to steal the same, which said money was then and there the subject of larceny and came into the possession of said Allen [84 Colo. 258] Cliff by virtue of said office, and so in the manner and by the means aforesaid, he, the said Allen Cliff, did then and there feloniously and fraudulently steal, take and carry away the said $4,000 of the value of $4,000 of the personal property, goods, chattels and moneys belonging to and in the possession of the said Routt County Bank, contrary to the form of the statute,' etc.

(a) It is said that the information is defective because it does not allege that the act was committed with intent 'to deceive, injure, cheat, wrong and defraud.' Funds may be abstracted or misapplied without any intent to deceive, injure, cheat, wrong, or defraud. It may be done innocently. It is only when such specific intent exists that the [269 P. 910] act comes within the provisions of section 2675; hence, where abstraction or misapplication is charged, it is necessary to allege such specific intent. But where embezzlement is aptly charged, it is done in words that sufficiently charge the criminal intent. The information in the present case sufficiently charges the intent to injure, wrong, and defraud the bank. Even where abstraction or misapplication of funds is charged it is not necessary to allege an intent to deceive, injure, cheat, wrong, and defraud. An allegation that the defendant had an intent to do any one of those things is sufficient. The statute is in the dislunctive. The information is not open to the objection urged.

(b) Another contention is that the information is insufficient because the facts are alleged inferentially, and do not clearly indicate with which offense, embezzlement or larceny, the defendant is charged. We cannot sustain these objections. The information charges embezzlement with great particularity, and in terms so plain that the nature of the offense may be easily understood, not only by the defendant, but also by the jury. That is sufficient. C. L. § 7062; Sarno v. People, 74 Colo. 528, 223 P. 41. That they did understand the nature of the offense charged there can be no doubt. Objections to technical defects that do not tend to prejudice the substantial [84 Colo. 259] rights of the defendant on the merits are not encouraged. C. L. § 7103; Balfe v. People, 66 Colo. 94, 179 P. 137; Henry v. People, 72 Colo. 5, 209 P. 511; May v. People, 77 Colo. 432, 435, 236 P. 1022; Gizewski v. People, 78 Colo. 123, 239 P. 1026; Fries v. People, 80 Colo. 430, 252 P. 341; Koontz v. People, 82 Colo. 489, 263 P. 19.

3. Error is said to have occurred in the admission and rejection of evidence.

(a) Certain bank books and memoranda were admitted in evidence. The defendant complains that as the memoranda and the entries in the books are not in the handwriting of the defendant, they were inadmissible because not shown to have been made at the direction or with the knowledge of the defendant. Such direction and knowledge need not be proven by direct evidence; circumstantial evidence is sufficient. The bank was located in a small town, whose population ranged between 967 in 1920 to about 1,400 in 1927. The estimated population in 1924, according to the Colorado Year Book, was 1,060. The business transacted by the bank was limited. The active office force, we infer from the...

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11 cases
  • State v. Hudson, No. A--2
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • October 22, 1962
    ...159 Ark. 170, 251 S.W. 370, 371 (Sup.Ct.1923); People v. Del Cerro, 9 Cal.App. 764, 100 P. 887, 890--891 (D.Ct.App.1909); Cliff v. People, 84 Colo. 254, 269 P. 907, 912 (Sup.Ct.1928); Kennedy v. State, 191 Ga. 22, 11 S.E.2d 179, 184 (Sup.Ct.1940); Thomas v. State, 129 Ga. 419, 59 S.E. 246, ......
  • Updike v. People, 12989.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • January 7, 1933
    ...only by the defendant, but also by the jury. That is sufficient. C. L. § 7062; Sarno v. People, 74 Colo. 528, 223 P. 41.' Cliff v. People, 84 Colo. 254, 258, 269 P. 907, 910. The proof was ample to sustain the verdict; there was no error in the admission or rejection of evidence, nor in the......
  • Oaks v. People, No. 19992
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • April 23, 1962
    ...reversal. If technical errors result in 'prejudice to the substantial rights of the defendant,' this court will reverse. Cliff v. People, 84 Colo. 254, 269 P. 907. And, numerous formal irregularities, each of which in itself might be [150 Colo. 67] deemed harmless, may in the aggregate show......
  • Com. v. Evancho
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • March 16, 1954
    ...denied 342 U.S. 863, 72 S.Ct. 114, 96 L.Ed. 649; People v. Radcliffe, 1921, 232 N.Y. 249, 133 N.E. 577, 578; Cliff v. People, 1928, 84 Colo. 254, 269 P. 907, 912; State v. Wilson, 1921, 108 Kan. 433, 195 P. 618, 619; Mulligan v. State, 1916, 18 Ga.App. 464, 89 S.E. 541, 543; State v. Gardin......
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