Commonwealth v. Horsfall

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtRUGG
Citation100 N.E. 362,213 Mass. 232
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH v. HORSFALL.
Decision Date06 January 1913

213 Mass. 232
100 N.E. 362

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HORSFALL.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex.

Jan. 6, 1913.


Exceptions from Superior Court, Middlesex County; McLaughlin, Judge.

James H. Horsfall was convicted of operating an automobile recklessly, and knowingly going away after causing injury, without disclosing his identity, and he excepts. Exceptions sustained in part.

[213 Mass. 233]Indictment in four counts charging defendant with recklessly operating an automobile and with going away after an accident in which a woman was injured, without making himself known. The first count of the indictment charged defendant with recklessly operating an automobile, the second count charged him with operating an automobile while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, the third charged him with going away without stopping and making himself known after injuries to a person, and the fourth charged him with going away without making himself known after injuries to property.

[213 Mass. 234]Defendant asked the court to instruct the jury: (1) If defendant had no reason to believe that a woman was standing at the point where this woman was struck, and if, after it was first possible for him under existing conditions to see the woman, he did everything that was possible to avert the accident, then he should not be found guilty. (2) The driver of an automobile is not bound in the operation of his car to anticipate and guard against unusual dangers, the existence of which he has no reasonable ground to anticipate, and he is bound only to use the utmost care after he has become aware of them to prevent an accident. The court refused to give these requests. The defendant was found guilty and excepted.


1. HIGHWAYS (s 186*)-RECKLESS DRIVING OF AUTOMOBILE-ELEMENTS OF OFFENSE.

A person may be guilty of operating an automobile recklessly, in violation of St. 1909, c. 534, s 22, making such act a criminal offense, though he exercises all possible care after discovering upon the highway a person whom he injures.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Highways, Cent. Dig. ss 476, 477; Dec. Dig. s 186.*]

* For other cases see same topic and section NUMBER in Dec. Dig. & Am. Dig. Key-No. Series & Rep'r Indexes

2. HIGHWAYS (s 186*)-CARE IN DRIVING-AUTOMOBILES.

Automobiles must be used very much as other vehicles, and it is the driver's duty to look out for persons and other vehicles on the highway.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Highways, Cent. Dig. ss 476, 477; Dec. Dig. s 186.*]

* For other cases see same topic and section NUMBER in Dec. Dig. & Am. Dig. Key-No. Series & Rep'r Indexes

3. HIGHWAYS (s 186*)-RECKLESS DRIVING OF AUTOMOBILES-PROSECUTION-INSTRUCTIONS.

In a prosecution for operating an automobile recklessly, an instruction that the driver of an automobile must exercise a care ‘proportionate to that instrumentality or engine which he has in charge’ was not erroneous, though, technically speaking every traveler on a highway must exercise the care of an ordinarily prudent and cautious person under all circumstances, and the degree of care required varies with the time, place, surroundings, and means of transportation.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Highways, Cent. Dig. ss 476, 477; Dec. Dig. s 186.*]

* For other cases see same topic and section NUMBER in Dec. Dig. & Am. Dig. Key-No. Series & Rep'r Indexes

4. CRIMINAL LAW (s 777 1/2*)-INSTRUCTIONS-STATEMENT OF TESTIMONY.

Under Rev. Laws, c. 173, s 80, authorizing the judge to state the testimony, it is not error for him to read to the jury from his notes of a witness' testimony.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Criminal Law, Cent. Dig. s 1807; Dec. Dig. s 777 1/2.*]

* For other cases see same topic and section NUMBER in Dec. Dig. & Am. Dig. Key-No. Series & Rep'r Indexes

5. HIGHWAYS (s 186*)-INJURY BY AUTOMOBILE-‘KNOWINGLY.’

In St. 1909, c. 534, s 22, providing for the punishment of any person who, in operating an automobile, ‘knowingly went away without making himself known after injuring any person or property,’ the word ‘knowingly’ imports a perception of the facts requisite to make it a crime; and where, after injury to a woman, the driver of the automobile, after waiting a while, sent a man back to the place with instructions to disclose his identity, there was no violation of statute, though such person failed to state who the driver was.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Highways, Cent. Dig. ss 476, 477; Dec. Dig. s 186.*

For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, vol. 5, pp. 3937-3939.]

* For other cases see same topic and section NUMBER in Dec. Dig. & Am. Dig. Key-No. Series & Rep'r Indexes

John J. Higgins, Dist. Atty., of Boston, for the Commonwealth.

Cavanagh & Hendrick, of Boston, for defendant.


RUGG, C. J.

This indictment charges in separate...

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53 practice notes
  • Com. v. Cass
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 16, 1984
    ...Commonwealth v. Henry, 229 Mass. 19, 118 N.E. 224 (1917) ("operate"); [392 Mass. 803] Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 100 N.E. 362 (1913) ("reckless"). The Appeals Court has done the same for § 24G itself. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Glowski, 15 Mass.App. 912, 44......
  • Capano v. Melchionno
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 1, 1937
    ...picture in the characterization of the child.’ This was nothing more than stating the testimony of the mother. Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 100 N.E. 362, Ann.Cas.1914A, 682;Sawyer v. Worcester Consolidated Street Railway Co., 231 Mass. 215, 218, 120 N.E. 404. Her testimony was n......
  • Commonwealth v. Welansky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 5, 1944
    ...Mass. 341, 344, 178 N.E. 654) or the rights of that other. Warren v. Pazolt, 203 Mass. 328, 347, 89 N.E. 381;Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 235, 100 N.E. 362, Ann.Cas.1914A, 682;Cohen v. Daives, 305 Mass. 152, 155, 156, 25 N.E.2d 223, 129 A.L.R. 735; But we are not prepared to giv......
  • Commonwealth v. McGhee, SJC–11821.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • August 13, 2015
    ...requisite to make up the crime.” Commonwealth v. Altenhaus, 317 Mass. 270, 273, 57 N.E.2d 921 (1944), quoting Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 237, 100 N.E. 362 (1913). A requirement of scienter “has a tendency to narrow (and thus to clarify) the scope of a criminal enactment.” Comm......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
53 cases
  • Com. v. Cass
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 16, 1984
    ...Commonwealth v. Henry, 229 Mass. 19, 118 N.E. 224 (1917) ("operate"); [392 Mass. 803] Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 100 N.E. 362 (1913) ("reckless"). The Appeals Court has done the same for § 24G itself. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Glowski, 15 Mass.App. 912, 44......
  • Capano v. Melchionno
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 1, 1937
    ...picture in the characterization of the child.’ This was nothing more than stating the testimony of the mother. Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 100 N.E. 362, Ann.Cas.1914A, 682;Sawyer v. Worcester Consolidated Street Railway Co., 231 Mass. 215, 218, 120 N.E. 404. Her testimony was n......
  • Commonwealth v. Welansky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 5, 1944
    ...Mass. 341, 344, 178 N.E. 654) or the rights of that other. Warren v. Pazolt, 203 Mass. 328, 347, 89 N.E. 381;Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 235, 100 N.E. 362, Ann.Cas.1914A, 682;Cohen v. Daives, 305 Mass. 152, 155, 156, 25 N.E.2d 223, 129 A.L.R. 735; But we are not prepared to giv......
  • Commonwealth v. McGhee, SJC–11821.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • August 13, 2015
    ...requisite to make up the crime.” Commonwealth v. Altenhaus, 317 Mass. 270, 273, 57 N.E.2d 921 (1944), quoting Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232, 237, 100 N.E. 362 (1913). A requirement of scienter “has a tendency to narrow (and thus to clarify) the scope of a criminal enactment.” Comm......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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