Com. v. Gooslin

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore BELL; BELL; MUSMANNO
Citation410 Pa. 285,189 A.2d 157
Decision Date19 March 1963
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. George GOOSLIN, Appellant.

Page 157

189 A.2d 157
410 Pa. 285
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania
v.
George GOOSLIN, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
March 19, 1963.

[410 Pa. 286] John E. Stively, West Chester, for appellant.

Samuel J. Halpren, Dist. Atty., West Chester, A. Alfred Delduco, Asst. Dist. Atty., West Chester, for appellee.

[410 Pa. 285] Before BELL, C. J., and MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.

[410 Pa. 286] BELL, Chief Justice.

The defendant, George Gooslin, was tried for murder of his wife, Sadie Gooslin. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree. Defendant's motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial were overruled and he was sentenced to pay a fine of $2,500.00, plus costs, and to serve not less than 10 or more than 20 years in the State Correctional Institution at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thereafter, defendant appealed the judgment to this Court.

Defendant contends: (1) the trial Court erred in overruling his demurrer; (2) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction and his motion in arrest of judgment should be granted; and (3) the trial Court erred in overruling his motion for a new trial because the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Defendant places his main reliance on the second contention.

In Commonwealth v. Burns, 409 Pa. 619, 187 A.2d 552, page 560, the Court said:

"The test of the sufficiency of the evidence--irrespective of whether it is direct or circumstantial--is whether accepting as true all the evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could properly have based its verdict, it is sufficient in law to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged, i. e., the murder of Max Kravitz. Commonwealth v. Sauders, 390 Pa. 379, [410 Pa. 287] 134 A.2d 890; Commonwealth v. Boden, 399 Pa. 298, 159 A.2d 894; Commonwealth v. Homeyer,

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373 Pa. 150, 94 A.2d 743; Commonwealth ex rel. Garrison v. Burke, 378 Pa. 344, 106 A.2d 587; Commonwealth v. Kloiber, 378 Pa. 412, 106 A.2d 820; Commonwealth v. Bolish, 381 Pa. 500, 113 A.2d 464; Commonwealth v. Lowry, 374 Pa. 594, 98 A.2d 733; Commonwealth v. Blanchard, 345 Pa. 289, 26 A.2d 303, 27 A.2d 48; Commonwealth v. Bishop, 285 Pa. 49, 131 A. 657; Commonwealth v. Danz, 211 Pa. 507, 60 A. 1070.

"In Commonwealth v. Phillips, 372 Pa. 223, at page 227, 93 A.2d 455, 457, the Court said: 'It has become customary for a defendant in his argument before an Appellate Court to base his claims and contentions upon his own testimony or that of his witnesses even after a jury has found him guilty. This, of course, is basic error. After a plea or verdict of guilty, 'we accept as true all of the Commonwealth's evidence upon which, if believed, the jury could have properly based its verdict. Com. v. Blanchard, 1942, 345 Pa. 289, 296, 26 A.2d 303, 306, 27 A.2d 48. See also Com. v. Karmendi, 1937, 328 Pa. 321, 324, 195 A. 62, 63; Com. v. Watkins, 1929, 298 Pa. 165, 168, 148 A. 65, 66; Com. v. Carelli, 1945, 281 Pa. 602, 605, 127 A. 305, 306; Com. v. Priest, 1922, 272 Pa. 549, 550, 116 A. 403; Com. v. Diaco, 1920, 268 Pa. 305, 306, 11 A. 879, 880.'"'

In Commonwealth v. Kravitz, 400 Pa. 198, 206, 161 A.2d 861 page 865, the Court said:

"'* * * Proof by eye witnesses or direct evidence of the corpus delicti or of identity or of the commission by the defendant of the crime charged is not necessary. '* * * It is clearly settled that a man may be convicted on circumstantial evidence alone, and a criminal intent may be inferred by the jury from facts and circumstances which are of such a nature as to prove defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Commonwealth v. Kloiber, 378 Pa. 412, 106 A.2d 820; Commonwealth v. Homeyer, 373 [410 Pa. 288] Pa. 150, 94 A.2d 743; Commonwealth v. Lowry, 374 Pa. 594, 600, 98 A.2d 733; Commonwealth v. Danz, 211 Pa. 507, 60 A. 1070; Commonwealth v. Wentzel, 360 Pa. 137, 61 A.2d 309'. Commonwealth ex rel. Garrison v. Burke, 378 Pa. 344, 348, 106 A.2d 587, 589." See also to the same effect. Commonwealth v. Boden, 399 Pa. 298, 159 A.2d 894; Commonwealth v. Nasuti, 385 Pa. 436, 123 A.2d 435; Commonwealth v. Carey, 368 Pa. 157, 82 A.2d 240.'

In Commonwealth v. Bolish, 381 Pa. 500, 510, 511, 113 A.2d 464, page 470, the Court said:

'Murder in Pennsylvania was first authoritatively defined in the famous case of Commonwealth v. Drum, 58 Pa. 9, 15. 'Murder', Mr. Justice Stearne aptly said, in Commonwealth v. Buzard, 365 Pa. 511, 515, 516, 76 A.2d 394, 396, 22 A.L.R.2d 846, 'is defined as an unlawful killing of another with malice aforethought, express or implied.' The legislature divided murder into two classifications, murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree; and provided that (1) all murder perpetrated by poison or lying in wait, or by any other kind of wilful, deliberate or premeditated killing, or any murder which shall be committed in the perpetration of or attempt to perpetrate certain specified felonies [arson, rape, robbery, burglary, or kidnapping], is murder in the first degree and (2) every other kind of murder is murder in the second degree: Act of 1939, June 24, supra. 1

'Malice express or implied is the criterion and absolutely essential ingredient of murder. Malice in its legal sense exists not only where there is a particular ill will, but also whenever there is a wickedness of disposition, hardness of heart, wanton conduct, cruelty, recklessness of consequences and a mind regardless of social duty. Legal malice may be inferred and found from the attending circumstances.

[410 Pa. 289] 'To summarize: If there was an unlawful killing with (legal) malice, express or implied, that will constitute murder even

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though there was no intent to injure or kill the particular person who was killed and even though...

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35 practice notes
  • Com. v. Gockley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 2, 1963
    ...in law to prove beyond a [411 Pa. 441] reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. Commonwealth v. Gooslin, 410 Pa. 285, 286-287, 189 A.2d 157; Commonwealth v. Burns, 409 Pa. 619, 633, 187 A.2d 552; Commonwealth v. Kravitz, 400 Pa. 198, 208, 161 A.2d 861; Commonwealt......
  • Com. v. Kirkland
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 27, 1963
    ...which are favorable to her. As we have said very many times, this is not the law. In the recent case of Commonwealth v. Gooslin, 410 Pa. 285, page 287, 189 A.2d 157, page 158, we "'* * * 'It has become customary for a defendant in his argument before an Appellate Court to base his claims an......
  • Com. v. Commander
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 9, 1970
    ...as substantive evidence on the basic issue at trial. Sufficiency of Evidence of Prove Malice Aforethought In Commonwealth v. Goodslin, 410 Pa. 285, 189 A.2d 157, the Court reiterated the oft-repeated definition of murder (pages 288--289, 189 A.2d page 158): "Murder in Pennsylvania was first......
  • Com. v. Ahearn
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 19, 1966
    ...Commonwealth v. Carroll, 412 Pa. 525, pages 530--531, 194 A.2d 911, pages 914--915 supra, the Court, quoting from Commonwealth v. Gooslin, 410 Pa. 285, 189 A.2d 157, supra, pertinently said: '* * * 'Murder', * * * 'is defined as an unlawful killing of another with malice afore-thought, expr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Com. v. Gockley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • July 2, 1963
    ...in law to prove beyond a [411 Pa. 441] reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. Commonwealth v. Gooslin, 410 Pa. 285, 286-287, 189 A.2d 157; Commonwealth v. Burns, 409 Pa. 619, 633, 187 A.2d 552; Commonwealth v. Kravitz, 400 Pa. 198, 208, 161 A.2d 861; Commonwealt......
  • Com. v. Kirkland
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • November 27, 1963
    ...which are favorable to her. As we have said very many times, this is not the law. In the recent case of Commonwealth v. Gooslin, 410 Pa. 285, page 287, 189 A.2d 157, page 158, we "'* * * 'It has become customary for a defendant in his argument before an Appellate Court to base his claims an......
  • Com. v. Commander
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • January 9, 1970
    ...as substantive evidence on the basic issue at trial. Sufficiency of Evidence of Prove Malice Aforethought In Commonwealth v. Goodslin, 410 Pa. 285, 189 A.2d 157, the Court reiterated the oft-repeated definition of murder (pages 288--289, 189 A.2d page 158): "Murder in Pennsylvania was first......
  • Com. v. Ahearn
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 19, 1966
    ...Commonwealth v. Carroll, 412 Pa. 525, pages 530--531, 194 A.2d 911, pages 914--915 supra, the Court, quoting from Commonwealth v. Gooslin, 410 Pa. 285, 189 A.2d 157, supra, pertinently said: '* * * 'Murder', * * * 'is defined as an unlawful killing of another with malice afore-thought, expr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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