Connors v. State

Citation2 N.W. 1143,47 Wis. 523
PartiesJOHN CONNORS, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR, v. THE STATE OF WISCONSIN, DEFENDANT IN ERROR.
Decision Date06 November 1879
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Error to Racine county circuit court.

Joseph V. Quarles, for plaintiff in error.

Attorney General, for defendant in error.

LYON, J.

The plaintiff in error, John Conners, was tried, at the last March term of the circuit court for Racine county, upon an information charging that he had committed the crime of rape upon the person of one Caroline Ortell, on the twenty-fifth of February, 1879. The trial resulted in a verdict of guilty, and the court sentenced him to imprisonment in the state prison for the term of ten years.

The prosecutrix testified that in the evening of that day, at about half past eight o'clock, Connors came to the house where she was at work in the city of Racine, with a horse and cutter, and, under the false pretense that her brother was sick and dying, induced her to leave with him for her father's house, one or two miles distant, to see her brother. She also testified that before reaching her father's Connors turned the horse from the road leading there into another road; that he drove into a ditch, causing the cutter to upset, and dragged her a short distance to a telegraph pole, where, by force and against her will, he had carnal knowledge of her person, and that as soon as she was released she ran home crying, and told her father of the outrage which Conners had committed upon her. She also testified that she was under sixteen years of age, and that no man had ever before had sexual intercourse with her.

Connors was arrested for the offence during the same night. The next morning the person of the prosecutrix was examined by two physicians, by direction of the district attorney, and a short time afterwards she was examined by two other physicians, but at whose instance does not appear.

It is not denied that Connors stated to the prosecutrix and her mistress, when he went for the former, that her brother was sick; or that the horse went for a short distance on the wrong road and turned off the track towards the fence, near where the crime is alleged to have been committed; or that the prosecutrix walked to her father's house from that point. The testimony tends strongly to show that the prosecutrix did not reach her father's house for two hours after she left her place of service with Connors.

The plaintiff in error testifies that he went for the prosecutrix at her own request, and that she previously suggested to him to make the false pretence of her brother's sickness in order to obtain the consent of her mistress that she might go with him; that the horse he was driving was vicious and balky, and turned upon the wrong road and out of the track against his will; that the cutter did not upset, but the prosecutrix remained in it for some time while he was out of the cutter trying to induce the horse to go, and then, the weather being cold and they being only a short distance from her father's, she concluded to walk there, and did so; and that he did not ravish her or have sexual intercourse with her, or offer or propose to do anything of the kind.

The evidence tends very strongly to show that Connors and the prosecutrix must have been together at least an hour at the place where she claims to have been ravished. Snow or sleet was falling, the wind was quite high, and the weather was very cold. Witnesses who went to the place the next morning testified they saw the tracks of the cutter where it turned out of the road and passed over a snow-drift, but could discover no indications in the snow that a cutter had turned over there, or of a struggle at or near where the prosecutrix claims she was ravished. Her father testified that he saw indications that something had been dragged there, and that persons had lain there in the snow. No other witness so testifies. Some of the witnesses say the snow had drifted some during the night. There were several occupied houses in the vicinity of the place--one of them very near it.

It is a significant fact that none of the physicians who examined the prosecutrix were called by the state as witnesses. They were, however, all called by the defence, and all testified that they were unable to find a bruise upon the person of the prosecutrix, or any irritation of her sexual organs. Neither did they find any blood stains upon her clothing, or any evidence whatever indicating recent sexual intercourse, much less evidence indicating that she had been so recently ravished....

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36 cases
  • State v. Neil
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • July 6, 1907
    ...... . . The. prosecutrix is required to resist to the utmost from the. beginning to the end, and this must be positive resistance;. no equivocal opposition will be permitted. ( De Voy v. State. 122 Wis. 148, 99 N.W. 455; Posey v. State, 143 Ala. 54, 38 So. 1019; Connors v. State, 47 Wis. 523, 2 N.W. 1143; Matthews v. State, 19 Neb. 330, 27 N.W. 234; Brown v. Commonwealth, 102 Ky. 227, 43 S.W. 214; Perez v. State (Tex. Cr. App.), 87 S.W. 351; People v. Kirwan, 22 N.Y.S. 160; Hollister v. State, 156. Ind. 255, 59 N.E. 847; Toulet v. State, 100 ......
  • State v. Damon, 38253.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 25, 1943
    ...v. State, 11 Neb. 276; Matthews v. State, 19 Neb. 330; Reynolds v. State, 27 Neb. 90; State v. Hilberg, 22 Utah, 27; Conners v. State, 47 Wis. 523; State v. Burgdorf, 53 Mo. 65; State v. Wilson, 91 Mo. 410; State v. Katz, 181 S.W. 425; State v. Atkins, 237 S.W. 427; State v. Lawhorn, 157 S.......
  • State v. Patrick
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 23, 1891
  • State v. Damon
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • March 25, 1943
    ...482; Oleson v. State, 11 Neb. 276; Matthews v. State, 19 Neb. 330; Reynolds v. State, 27 Neb. 90; State v. Hilberg, 22 Utah 27; Conners v. State, 47 Wis. 523; State Burgdorf, 53 Mo. 65; State v. Wilson, 91 Mo. 410; State v. Katz, 181 S.W. 425; State v. Atkins, 292 S.W. 427; State v. Lawhorn......
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