Hydrick v. State

Decision Date04 March 1963
Docket NumberNo. 42564,42564
Citation246 Miss. 448,150 So.2d 423
PartiesW. G. HYDRICK v. STATE of Mississippi.
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

E. B. Todd and Forrest B. Jackson, Jackson, for appellant.

Joe T. Patterson, Atty. Gen., by G. Garland Lyell, Jr., Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.

RODGERS, Justice.

This is an appeal from a conviction and sentence of appellant to serve a jail sentence and pay a fine for the alleged crime of assault and battery with intent, unlawfully, feloniously and of malice aforethought, to kill and murder William C. Puckett.

The testimony is conflicting, but it appears that defendant, appellant here, drove an MG convertible automobile, called a 'Jeepster', to a drive-in restaurant, known as 'Shady Rest', about midnight of August 19, 1962. Shady Rest is located on West Capitol Street in the City of Jackson, Mississippi. Appellant ordered drinks over a public address system on the Jeepster. He then entered into a conversation with persons in a nearby automobile. At this time, the prosecuting witness walked up to the side of appellant's automobile and when appellant spoke to him, a dispute arose and blows were exchanged. During the altercation, appellant drew a pistol and a shot was fired, and a bullet struck the prosecuting witness in the face.

The theory of appellant's defense in the trial court was twofold, first, defendant claimed the prosecuting witness attacked him and that he was in the process of defending himself by striking him with a pistol; and, second, the pistol was discharged accidentally and unintentionally. Thus it is seen that defendant claimed not only the right of self-defense, but if guilty of assault and battery, a misdemeanor, nevertheless, he was not guilty of felonious intent to kill and murder.

After the testimony of eye-witnesses had been introduced and a full disclosure of all of the facts surrounding the altercation had been presented to the jury, including testimony of the prosecuting witness and defendant, the prosecuting attorney requested, and the court granted, the following instruction: 'The court instructs the jury for the State that it is reasonable to infer that a person ordinarily intends the natural and probable consequences of his acts knowingly done; and the court instructs the jury further that, unless the contrary appears from the evidence, the jury may draw the inference that the defendant intended all the consequences which one standing in like circumstances and possessing like knowledge should reasonably have expected to result from his act knowingly done.' Appellant assigns only two grounds for reversal of the judgment of the trial court, namely, the court was in error in granting the above instruction, and, second, the court was also in error in refusing to grant the instruction requested by him to find him not guilty of shooting with intent to kill and murder.

It is true as a general rule of abstract law, applicable in all criminal cases, that accused, if sane, is presumed to intend the necessary, or natural and probable, consequence of his unlawful, voluntary acts, knowingly performed. See 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law Sec. 35, p. 121; Heard v. State, 177 Miss. 661, 171 So. 775; Jacobs v. State (Ala.1920) 17 Ala.App. 396, 85 So. 837. We point out here, however, that this Court has said in opinions heretofore that instructions in criminal cases embodying abstract principles of law should not be given to the jury. For example: In the case of Smith v. State, 75 Miss. 542, 23 So. 260, this Court said 'It was better and safer to tell the jury what facts, if believed by them, would, in law, deprive Smith of the right of self-defense, than to submit that matter to them in this abstract way. The safe paths are the best in drawing instructions.' See also, Barnes v. State, 118 Miss. 621, 79 So. 815; McDaniel v. State, 8 S. & M. 401; Johnson v. State, 223 Miss. 167, 77 So.2d 824; 53 Am.Jur., Trial, Sec. 573, p. 451. However, abstract instructions are not always harmful. See Carter v. State, 169 Miss. 285, 152 So. 876.

In the instant case, the intent of the accused is an essential ingredient of the charge of an assault and battery with the unlawful and felonious intent, with malice aforethought, to kill and murder. Moreover, the burden of proof is upon the State to show intent to kill and murder beyond a reasonable doubt. See Clark v. State, 113 Miss. 201, 74 So. 127; State v. May, 147 Miss. 79, 112 So. 866; Norwood v. State, 182 Miss. 898, 183 So. 523; Busby v. State, 177 Miss. 68, 170 So. 140; Toler v. State, 143 Miss. 96, 108 So. 443.

Where a crime consists of an act, combined with a specific intent, the intent is just as much an element of the crime as the act. In such cases, mere general malice or criminal intent is insufficient, and the requisite, specific intent must be shown as a matter of fact, either by direct or circumstantial evidence. See 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law Sec. 32, p. 117; Simpson v. State, 81 Fla. 292, 87 So. 920 (Fla.1921).

The majority of the judicial opinions have generally followed the rule that where a specific intent is the gist of the offense charged, the court should not instruct the jury on the presumptions of evidence which apply to the question of intent. The first syllabus in the case of Cunningham v. State, 87 Miss. 417, 39 So. 531, is in the following words: 'Where the theory of accused was that he did not shoot at prosecutor, but merely fired his gun to prevent the commission of an assault, an instruction that an unwarranted attack on defendant did not justify him in shooting at prosecutor with a deadly weapon was erroneous, as assuming the pivotol point of the defense.' See Bell v. State, 90 Miss. 104, 43 So. 84. The general rule is set out in 23A C.J.S. Criminal Law Sec. 1222, p. 560, as follows: 'Except where a specific intent is the gist of the offense charged, the court may instruct that persons are presumed to intend the natural, probable, and usual consequences of their voluntary acts, where the charge is so given as to indicate that the presumption is not conclusive * * *'. (Emphasis supplied.)

The case of State v. Baker, 128 W.Va. 744, 38 S.E.2d 346 (W.Va.1946), is a case in which a soldier knocked a girl down, who later died from brain hemorrhage, and defendant was convicted. Objection was made to the instruction that told the jury that 'a man is presumed to intend that which he does, or which is the immediate and necessary consequence of his act.' The Court said 'the jury found that defendant was guilty of voluntary...

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30 cases
  • Tran v. State, 92-KA-01058-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 22 Agosto 1996
    ...So.2d 678 (Miss.1973); Blackwell v. State, 257 So.2d 855 (Miss.1972); Stewart v. State, 226 So.2d 911 (Miss.1969); Hydrick v. State, 246 Miss. 448, 150 So.2d 423 (1963); Funches v. State, 246 Miss. 214, 148 So.2d 710 (1963); Shields v. State, 244 Miss. 543, 144 So.2d 786 (1962); Johnson v. ......
  • Hendrieth v. State, 45557
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 12 Enero 1970
    ...may be presumed from the unlawful and deliberate use of the deadly weapon.' (210 So.2d at 669) In the case of Hydrick v. State, 246 Miss. 448, 150 So.2d 423 (1963), with reference to the charge of assault and battery with intent to kill, this Court 'In the instant case, the intent of the ac......
  • Carter v. State, 55659
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 30 Julio 1986
    ...consideration of the jury. Stewart v. State, 226 So.2d 911 (Miss.1969); Chinn v. State, 210 So.2d 666 (Miss.1968); Hydrick v. State, 246 Miss. 448, 150 So.2d 423 (1963). Since it is apparently so difficult for the Bench and Bar to recognize the proper case in which it may be granted, rarely......
  • Wood v. State
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • 3 Noviembre 1975
    ...cited in Mansfield v. State, 231 So.2d 774 (Miss.1970); Barnette v. State, 252 Miss. 652, 173 So.2d 904 (1965); and Hydrick v. State, 246 Miss. 448, 150 So.2d 423 (1963). 2 It is only when all the facts are not before the jury that the court is warranted in granting instructions on presumpt......
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