Goodwin v. State

Citation1 Ala.App. 136,56 So. 29
Decision Date15 June 1911
CourtAlabama Court of Appeals

Appeal from Law and Equity Court, Morgan County; Thomas W. Wert Judge.

John Goodwin was convicted of crime, and appeals. Affirmed.

Porter M. Brindley, for appellant.

R. C. Brickell, Atty. Gen., and W. L. Martin Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.


The court was not in error in sustaining the objection of the solicitor to the question propounded to the prosecutrix on her cross-examination: "Did you not tell the school children and neighbors generally that you were 13 years old last summer?" The question as framed involved a palpable disregard of the rule against mere general questions, not calling to the attention of the witness the time when, the place where, or the person to whom it is suggested that the witness had made statements at variance with the facts or statements deposed to, when it is sought to lay the foundation for the subsequent introduction of proof of such inconsistent or contradictory statements or declarations. Floyd v. State, 82 Ala. 16, 2 So. 683; Powell v. State, 19 Ala. 577; Southern Railway Co. v. Williams, 113 Ala. 620, 21 So. 328.

Nor was the court in error in sustaining the objection to the question to the prosecutrix as to what her mother said on the occasion of the attorney for the defendant calling and making inquiries as to the age of the prosecutrix. What the mother may have said was mere hearsay, and inadmissible, unless offered for the purpose of impeaching her testimony. At the time the question under consideration was asked, the mother had not been examined as a witness and proof intended to serve the purpose of laying a predicate for the impeachment of her testimony could not be brought into the case before she had deposed to something subject to contradiction, and had been afforded an opportunity to explain the circumstances and purport of what she may have said on the occasion inquired about. Powell v. State, supra; Floyd v. State, supra.

The objection of the solicitor to the question by defendant's counsel to the witness Dave Whitten as to statements made by the father and mother of the prosecutrix in reference to her age was properly sustained, as there was no pretense of a predicate having been laid for the impeachment of those witnesses by proof of contradictory statements or declarations.

The court properly refused, on objections duly interposed, to admit proof, proposed to be made in behalf of the defendant as to "the general opinion," or "the general reputation in the community," or "the general talk by the school children and the neighbors generally," with respect to the age of the prosecutrix. "The rule is that hearsay evidence (and such is the evidence of reputation) is inadmissible to establish any specific fact capable of direct proof by witnesses, speaking from their own knowledge; and when the rule is relaxed, it is from necessity alone." Abel v. State, ...

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