Gray v. People, 18751

Docket NºNo. 18751
Citation139 Colo. 583, 342 P.2d 627
Case DateJuly 13, 1959
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 627

342 P.2d 627
139 Colo. 583
Benjamin GRAY, Plaintiff in Error,
PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Defendant in Error.
No. 18751.
Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc.
July 13, 1959.
Rehearing Denied Aug. 17, 1959.

[139 Colo. 584] Mellman, Mellman & Thorn, Denver, Loesch & Kreidler, Montrose, for plaintiff in error.

Page 628

Duke W. Dunbar, Atty. Gen., Frank E. Hickey, Deputy Atty. Gen., John W. Patterson, Asst. Atty. Gen., for defendant in error.

DAY, Justice.

Plaintiff in error, defendant in the trial court, was charged with the larceny of six calves each belonging to a different person. He is here by writ of error seeking to reverse a judgment of conviction and sentence to the state penitentiary entered by the court after verdicts of guilty returned by the jury. We will refer to him as defendant or by name.

Defendant assigns eight grounds of error. Three refer to instructions given to the jury and to the court's refusal to give an instruction tendered by the defendant. Other claimed errors upon which we will comment are: 1. That the information was improperly drawn and prejudicial to the defendant and 2. That the district attorney was guilty of improper remarks in his opening statement. The remaining assignments relied on we deem without merit.

There is little dispute in the evidence. Defendant was apprehended by two state brand inspectors who were on a 'stake out' along the highway to intercept any unusual movement of livestock. Defendant had the unbranded calves in his pick-up when apprehended at 1:30 o'clock in the morning. Upon being stopped and questioned he said the calves were his (the defendant's). Subsequent undisputed evidence disclosed that each of [139 Colo. 585] the calves belonged to separate Indian owners. Each of the owners testified that they had not given their consent to the taking of the cattle by the defendant. Defendant's explanation of their acquisition was that the calves were sick and were being taken to a veterinarian in Delta. Other evidence, however, was produced to show that the calves were not sick. An eye-witness who helped the defendant cut out the calves from their mothers--a witness called as part of the defendant's case--testified concerning the night ride to get the calves, loading them into a pick-up and driving with lights out so that they would not attract attention. The witness' description of defendant's movement when a car appeared unexpectedly in the vicinity is quite revealing, and is quoted here to indicate that a jury might well conclude that defendant's possession and transportation of the calves was not with any lawful intent. We quote:

'We seen some car lights coming, or Ben did, and he shut off his lights quick and he said, 'Jerk the gate open; somebody is coming', and we tried to get the gate open, and we watched for a little while and the car went on by up around the road. We were right here (indicating) and there's a road that turns and comes over to the rear of Ben's, and this car was coming on around and Ben got up on top of the barn. He's got a fairly high barn. He got up on top of it and watched and the car went right to here (indicating), and the lights were on for a considerable time, I don't know just how long, thirty minutes I guess, and he watched quite a while for the lights, and after a while they turned off and he got off of the barn * * * He said, 'I can't understand what the lights were up there.' He says, 'I can't figure that out.' He says, 'I think it must be a trap.' He says, 'It was either the brand inspectors going there or else it might be Herley Boyd or it might even be Hawks.' He said, 'Maybe I ought to get a horse and jog up there and see if I can't see what is going on' * * * he says, 'I know this [139 Colo. 586] is a trap', but he says, 'I sure hate to turn those calves loose after all this work and after gathering them; I sure hate to turn them loose'.'

Since the evidence amply supports the verdict of the jury, the judgment of the court should be sustained unless the assignments of error are so prejudicial as to have denied defendant his right to a fair trial.

Page 629

First Question to be Determined: Can objections to the form of the information be raised for the first time on motion for new trial and then made the basis for a writ of error?

This question is answered in the negative.

The information was in seven separate counts. One count was dismissed on motion of the District Attorney. Each count charged an alleged larceny of a calf therein described and gave the name of the individual owner. The defendant did not, either prior to or during the trial, object to the information. He entered separate pleas of not guilty to each count. He made no objection to the six separate verdicts submitted by the...

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14 cases
  • People v. Mason, 81SA48
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • April 5, 1982 prejudiced the defendant's substantial rights during the trial as to amount to plain error under Crim.P. 52(b). Gray v. People, 139 Colo. 583, 342 P.2d 627 The defendant also complains of the court's failure to submit to the jury a written instruction on similar transaction evidence at t......
  • Montoya v. People, Supreme Court Case No. 12SC832
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • May 15, 2017 that party. See, e.g. , People v. Gross , 2012 CO 60M, ¶¶ 8–12, 287 P.3d 105, 109–10 ; Zapata , 779 P.2d at 1308–10 ; Gray v. People , 139 Colo. 583, 342 P.2d 627, 630 (1959) ; cf. Hansen v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. , 957 P.2d 1380, 1385 (Colo. 1998) (holding that invited error bar......
  • People v. Bennett, 25325
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • October 29, 1973
    ...argument and did not raise the issue in his motion for a new trial. Bizup v. People, 150 Colo. 214, 371 P.2d 786 (1962); Gray v. People, 139 Colo. 583, 342 P.2d 627 We have reviewed the remaining points raised by the defendant and have concluded that reversible error did not occur. Accordin......
  • People v. Huggins, Court of Appeals No. 16CA1709
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • August 1, 2019
    ...approval in People v. Rediger , 2018 CO 32, ¶ 34, 416 P.3d 893 ; People v. Collins , 730 P.2d 293, 304-05 (Colo. 1986) ; Gray v. People , 139 Colo. 583, 588, 342 P.2d 627, 630 (1959), cited with approval in Rediger , ¶ 34 ; see also People v. Hamilton , 64 Ill.App.3d 276, 21 Ill.Dec. 139, 3......
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