Gafford v. State

Decision Date24 April 1920
Citation79 Fla. 581,84 So. 602
PartiesGAFFORD v. STATE.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Error to Circuit Court, Taylor County; M. F. Horne, Judge.

J. A Gafford was convicted of breaking and entering a building and committing petit larceny, and he brings error. Reversed.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

The nature and ownership of the property which is the subject of an alleged intended larceny need not be alleged.

The general rule is that evidence of particular acts of misconduct cannot be introduced to impeach the credibility of a witness.

Evidence of another and distinct crime committed by a defendant in no way connected by circumstances with the one for which he is being tried is inadmissible.

Where prejudicial testimony has no proper bearing on the offense charged and is not a disclosure incidental to proof of the offense charged, a proper motion to strike it duly made should be granted.

COUNSEL

W. T. Hendry and C. P. Diamond, both of Perry, for plaintiff in error.

Van C Swearingen, Atty. Gen., and D. Stuart Gillis, Asst. Atty Gen., for the State.

OPINION

WHITFIELD J.

The charge here is that Gafford 'did unlawfully break and enter a building of another, to wit, a crib the property of one B. F. Lewis, with intent then and there to commit a misdemeanor, to wit, petit larceny.'

While the statute imposes the penalty upon 'whoever breaks, or enters without breaking,' etc., the charge is not duplicitous, as the words 'break and enter' may be regarded as being used disjunctively. See Strobhar v. State, 55 Fla. 167, 47 So. 4; Jones v. State, 18 Fla. 889; Bradley v. State, 20 Fla. 738; King v. State, 17 Fla. 183.

The nature and ownership of the property which was the subject of the alleged intended larceny need not be alleged. Crosky v. State, 46 Fla. 122, 35 So. 153; Jones v. State, supra; Charles v. State, 36 Fla. 691, 18 So. 369.

A witness for the state testified that he knew the general reputation of the defendant for truth and veracity, and that he would not believe him on oath. On cross he stated that he had some business transactions with the defendant. On redirect:

'Q. Would your business transactions influence your testimony in any way? A. Yes, some of them would. Thereupon the state, by its attorney, propounded to the witness the following question: 'State to what extent.' To which question the witness gave the following answer: 'There was a check that he forged as I recall it, that was cashed at the bank where I am cashier; that had some influence, and what I have heard folks say about him.' The said answer to the said question the defendant by his attorney did then and there move to strike upon the ground that the said answer and matter is irrelevant and immaterial, improper and prejudicial, and the said judge did then and there deliver his opinion and overrule the said motion to strike, to which ruling and decision of the judge the defendant, by his attorney, did then and there except.'

The testimony that the defendant had forged a check was improper and harmful and should have been excluded on motion. Reddick v. State, 25 Fla. 112, 433, 5 So. 704; Golden v. State, 54 Fla. 43, 44 So. 948; 16 C.J. 582.

The general rule is that evidence of particular acts of misconduct cannot be introduced to impeach the credibility of a witness. Roberson v. State, 40 Fla. 509, 24 So. 474.

Evidence of another and distinct crime committed by a defendant in no way connected by circumstances...

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21 cases
  • Nickels v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • December 1, 1925
    ... ... believe that prisoner guilty. Generally, therefore, it is ... harmful error to admit evidence of other or collateral crimes ... independent of and unconnected with the crime for which the ... defendant is on trial. Roberson v. State, 40 Fla ... 509, 24 So. 474; Gafford v. State, 79 Fla. 581, 84 ... So. 602; 16 ... [106 So. 489] ... C.J. 586; 8 R. C. L. 210 ... To this ... general rule, however, there are several distinct exceptions ... well supported by precedent, amongst which are that such ... evidence is admissible when it is relevant as ... ...
  • Suarez v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • January 12, 1928
    ...be open to him. See, also, Langford v. State, 33 Fla. 233, 14 So. 815; Roberson v. State, 40 Fla. 509, 24 So. 474; Gafford v. State, 79 Fla. 581, 84 So. 602; Nickels v. State, 90 Fla. 659, 106 So. 479, Presley v. State, 63 Fla. 37, 57 So. 605; Pittman v. State, 51 Fla. 94, 41 So. 385, 8 L. ......
  • Wilson v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • October 11, 1938
    ... ... any fact, with its circumstances, even though amounting to a ... distinct crime, if it has some relevant bearing upon the ... issues being tried, is admissible. See Wallace v ... State, 41 Fla. 547, 26 So. 713; Roberson v ... State, 40 Fla. 509, 21 So. 474; Gafford v ... State, 79 Fla. 581, 84 So. 602; Boyett v ... State, 95 Fla. 597, 116 So. 476; Suarez v ... State, 95 Fla. 42, 115 So. 519; Thomas v. State, ... Fla., 181 So. 337 ... The ... rule and the exception thereto are well expressed in the ... opinion of Mr. Justice Strum in the ... ...
  • Coston v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • July 14, 1939
    ...v. State, 121 Fla. 627, 164 So. 354; Gunnels v. State, 96 Fla. 659, 118 So. 919; Boyett v. State, 95 Fla. 597, 116 So. 476; Gafford v. State, 79 Fla. 581, 84 So. 602; Denton v. State, 66 Fla. 87, 62 So. 914; v. State, 95 Fla. 42, 115 So. 519; Langford v. State, 33 Fla. 233, 14 So. 815; Robe......
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