Commonwealth v. McKnight

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtLUMMUS
Citation283 Mass. 35,186 N.E. 42
Decision Date22 May 1933
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH v. McKNIGHT (two cases).

283 Mass. 35
186 N.E. 42

COMMONWEALTH
v.
McKNIGHT (two cases).

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex.

May 22, 1933.


Appeal from Superior Criminal Court, Middlesex County; H. P. Williams, Judge.

Edwin T. McKnight and others were convicted for lending bank funds on worthless security, and they appeal.

Affirmed.


[283 Mass. 37]

[186 N.E. 43]

J. N. Johnson, of Medford, for appellants.

W. L. Bishop, Dist. Atty., and W. G. Andrew, Asst. Dist. Atty., both of Boston, for the Commonwealth.


LUMMUS, Justice.

The first of these cases is an indictment under G. L. (Ter. Ed.) c. 266, § 53A, which originated in St. 1922, c. 313, § 2. The text of the statute appears in Commonwealth v. Nichols, 257 Mass. 289, 153 N. E. 787. The indictment charged in three counts that the defendant, with others, being officers of the Medford Trust Company, ‘did loan funds of said corporation and knowingly receive or accept for said corporation a fictitious, valueless, inadequate or irresponsible obligation as security for said loan, the consideration or security not being otherwise sufficient, and not being necessary to prevent loss upon a debt previously contracted in good faith.’ The second of these cases is an indictment in one count under the same statute, in the same form. By specifications filed upon motion by the defendant, it appeared that the four counts referred to distinct offences.

The defendant waived his right to trial by jury under G. L. (Ter. Ed.) c. 278, § 2; c. 263, § 6, and was tried by the Superior Court without jury. The trial judge ordered that the cases be subject to G. L. (Ter. Ed.) c. 278, §§ 33A-33G, which provide for carrying questions of law to this court in cases of felony upon an appeal, a summary of the record, a [283 Mass. 38]transcript of the evidence, and an assignment of errors, in place of a bill of exceptions. Commonwealth v. McDonald, 264 Mass. 324, 162 N. E. 401. The defendant was found guilty upon each count in the first case and upon the single count in the second case, was sentenced to pay a fine upon each count, and duly filed his claim of appeal and his assignment of errors. The assignment of errors is by no means clear, and hardly comes up to the requirement of the statute that the ‘specific grounds upon which any claim of error is based shall be set forth in concise form.’ Yet we deal with it as we understand it.

The first error assigned is that the court failed to quash the indictments, although no motion to quash was filed. The defendant urges that the indictments are had for duplicity, because the pleader confuses two separate offences under the statute, (1) loaning funds to an individual, corporation, etc., known to be insolvent, and (2) knowingly receiving or accepting a fictitious, valueless, etc., obligation. But it is clear that the latter offense is the only one charged. There is no allegation that the borrower was known to be insolvent, and the reference to a loan is only for the purpose of showing the occasion for taking an obligation as security. There is no such conflict as the defendant asserts between

[186 N.E. 44]

the section under which the indictments were drawn and G. L. (Ter. Ed.) c. 172, § 33, giving to trust companies the right to advance money or credits ‘on real estate situated in the commonwealth and on personal security, on terms to be agreed upon.’ The general language of the latter statute grants no right to accept security known to be inadequate. A lesser formal objection to the indictments, that the alternative elements of the offence are alleged disjunctively, thus violating the rule requiring certainty in criminal pleading, is not taken. Commonwealth v. Grey, 2 Gray, 501, 61 Am. Dec. 476;Commonwealth v. Livermore, 4 Gray, 18;Commonwealth v. Burns, 9 Gray, 287;Commonwealth v. O'Brien, 107 Mass. 208;Commonwealth v. Adams, 127 Mass. 15, 19. See G. L. (Ter. Ed.) c. 277, § 31. We have dealt with the objections to the indictments as though open...

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28 practice notes
  • Dolan v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • November 29, 1939
    ...See also G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 277, § 31. So far as this objection relates merely to the form of the complaint (see Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 38, 186 N.E. 42) it will not lie to a complaint for contempt since technical accuracy is not required (Woodbury v. Commonwealth, Mass., 3 N.......
  • Commonwealth v. Welansky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 5, 1944
    ...were possible, in the belated attempt to raise the same question of pleading by motion in arrest of judgment. Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 38, 39, 186 N.E. 42. The defendant was found guilty upon counts 7 to 16, inclusive, of indictment 413 and upon counts 7 to 15, inclusive, of ......
  • Commonwealth v. Isenstadt
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • September 17, 1945
    ...offenses set forth in so far as such offenses are susceptiable of differentiation. G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 278, § 17; Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 38, 39, 186 N.E. 42;Commonwealth v. McMenimon, 295 Mass. 467, 470, 471, 4 N.E.2d 246. We do not pretend ignorance of the controversy which h......
  • Commonwealth v. Di Stasio
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 7, 1936
    ...as drawn would be a bar to a new indictment drawn in the form in which it stood after the amendment.’ See, also, Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 39, 186 N.E. 42. Although the indictment in the present case did not as returned by the grand jury name or describe the man who had been m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Dolan v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • November 29, 1939
    ...See also G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 277, § 31. So far as this objection relates merely to the form of the complaint (see Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 38, 186 N.E. 42) it will not lie to a complaint for contempt since technical accuracy is not required (Woodbury v. Commonwealth, Mass., 3 N.......
  • Commonwealth v. Welansky
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 5, 1944
    ...were possible, in the belated attempt to raise the same question of pleading by motion in arrest of judgment. Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 38, 39, 186 N.E. 42. The defendant was found guilty upon counts 7 to 16, inclusive, of indictment 413 and upon counts 7 to 15, inclusive, of ......
  • Commonwealth v. Isenstadt
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • September 17, 1945
    ...offenses set forth in so far as such offenses are susceptiable of differentiation. G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 278, § 17; Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 38, 39, 186 N.E. 42;Commonwealth v. McMenimon, 295 Mass. 467, 470, 471, 4 N.E.2d 246. We do not pretend ignorance of the controversy which h......
  • Commonwealth v. Di Stasio
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • April 7, 1936
    ...as drawn would be a bar to a new indictment drawn in the form in which it stood after the amendment.’ See, also, Commonwealth v. McKnight, 283 Mass. 35, 39, 186 N.E. 42. Although the indictment in the present case did not as returned by the grand jury name or describe the man who had been m......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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