Commonwealth v. Pratt

Decision Date27 March 1879
Citation126 Mass. 462
PartiesCommonwealth v. Jefferson Pratt
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court

Norfolk. Complaint on the St. of 1875, c. 99, charging that the defendant, on October 29, 1878, at Milton, kept intoxicating liquors with intent to sell the same in this Commonwealth.

At the trial in the Superior Court, before Bacon, J., the government offered evidence tending to show that, on and before the day alleged in the complaint, the defendant was the proprietor of a public house; that, on that day, a quantity of intoxicating liquors was seized in the bar-room, and cellar under the same, in said house; and that the liquors were kept for sale.

The defendant offered evidence tending to show that the whole premises, from January 1, 1878, down to the time of trial were let to the wife of the defendant; that the business carried on there and the liquors seized were her own; that the clerk of the house was employed by her; and that the defendant to a great extent was engaged in trading horses and was absent a great part of the time from June 1, 1878, to and including October 29, 1878. The defendant called the clerk as a witness, who testified that he had been clerk since June 1, 1878, hired by and in the employ of the defendant's wife; that she owned the business and liquors seized; that the latter had been bought since June 1; that he had not seen the defendant at any time during that period sell or deliver intoxicating liquors to any person; that the witness had charge, more or less, of the liquors and of the rooms and places in which they were deposited when seized and that these rooms and places were not used by the defendant and his wife for family or domestic purposes. On cross-examination, the witness was asked by the government if during that period he had sold intoxicating liquors at that house. The witness declined to answer, on the ground that an answer might criminate him. The defendant also objected; but the judge ruled that the witness must answer; and the witness thereupon answered that he had.

The defendant asked the judge to rule that, if the house and business were owned, carried on by, and under the control of the wife, the defendant would not be responsible for her illegal acts, or those of her agents, although with his knowledge, unless he actively aided or assisted therein; and that he had no right, in law, to interfere to prevent such business, if carried on by her in those parts of...

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20 cases
  • United States v. St. Pierre
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • 15 Diciembre 1942
    ...55 Am.Dec. 191; Coburn v. Odell, 1855, 30 N.H. 540; Foster v. Pierce, 1853, 11 Cush. 437, 65 Mass. 437, 59 Am.Dec. 152; Commonwealth v. Pratt, 1879, 126 Mass. 462; Commonwealth v. Trider, 1887, 143 Mass. 180, 9 N.E. 510; Evans v. O'Connor, 1899, 174 Mass. 287, 54 N.E. 557, 75 Am.St.Rep. 316......
  • Baker v. Eisenstadt
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — First Circuit
    • 23 Febrero 1972
    ...as the defendant, in the matter on trial, he must answer all questions legally put him concerning that matter." See also Commonwealth v. Pratt, 126 Mass. 462, 463 (1879); Evans v. O'Connor, 174 Mass. 287, 291, 54 N.E. 557 Under this rigorous waiver rule, petitioner would have had difficulty......
  • Com. v. Funches
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • 30 Noviembre 1979
    ...setting out the doctrine of waiver by testimony. See Evans v. O'Connor, 174 Mass. 287, 290-291, 54 N.E. 557 (1899); Commonwealth v. Pratt, 126 Mass. 462 (1879); Commonwealth v. Price, 10 Gray 472 (1858); Foster v. Pierce, 11 Cush. 437 (1853). According to these cases, "(T)he witness must cl......
  • Scribner v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma. Court of Criminal Appeals of Oklahoma
    • 31 Mayo 1913
    ...18 Me. 372; Coburn v. Odell, 10 Fost. (30 N. H.) 540; Norfolk v. Gaylord, 28 Conn. 309; Austin v. Pointer, 1 Sim. 358; Commonwealth v. Pratt, 126 Mass. 462; Chamberlain v. Willson, 12 Vt. 491 ; Lockett v. State, 63 Ala. 5; People Freshour, 55 Cal. 375." In the case of Burrell v. Montana, 19......
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