Keith v. State

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtNeil
Citation152 S.W. 1029
Decision Date01 February 1913
PartiesKEITH v. STATE.

Page 1029

152 S.W. 1029
KEITH
v.
STATE.
Supreme Court of Tennessee.
February 1, 1913.

Appeal from Circuit Court, De Kalb County; E. L. Davis, Judge.

Claude Keith was convicted of murder in the second degree, and he appeals. Affirmed.

Wade, Crowley & Lawson, of Smithville, for appellant. Charles T. Cates, Jr., Atty. Gen., for the State.

Page 1030

NEIL, J.


In this case plaintiff in error was convicted of murder in the second degree, and sentenced to a term of 20 years in the state penitentiary, for killing one L. E. Smithson, to reverse which judgment he has appealed to this court. We are fully satisfied of his guilt under the facts as proven in the record, and that all of the errors assigned are without merit.

In the present opinion we shall refer to only one of the law points involved. There was evidence introduced on the trial, which was treated by counsel on both sides, and by the trial judge, and by both counsel here, as a putting in issue by the plaintiff in error of his character for peace, quietness, and good order. We shall accordingly treat the evidence in the same manner, although, if we had any substantial doubt of the guilt of the prisoner, we might find in this evidence grounds of distinction sufficient for a reversal, but for Acts 1911, c. 32. So treating the evidence, his honor instructed the jury, in substance, that when the defendant in a criminal case puts his character in issue, it is a witness for him if a good character, and a witness against him if a good character. The objection made here by counsel for the prisoner is to the last clause; that is, as to what was said on the subject of bad character.

This was held a proper charge in Lea v. State, 94 Tenn. 495, 29 S. W. 900. However, it must be conceded that in that case the special point to which the mind of the court was directed was that the character must be such as the plaintiff in error had exhibited prior to the commission of the offense charged. But the soundness of the general proposition was treated by the court as indubitable. The case of State v. Collins, 5 Pennewill (Del.) 263, 62 Atl. 224, is in substantial accord.

After all, it simply means that the character, when put in issue, is a circumstance or fact, to be considered in connection with all the other facts in the case, in endeavoring to reach a conclusion as to the guilt or innocence of the party charged. One who has a good character for peace, quietness, and good order is not so likely to...

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16 practice notes
  • Henderson v. United States, No. 11368.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 27 Febrero 1953
    ...Evidence, 3rd Ed., § 980(2)(a), 519, 520; Campbell v. United States, 85 U.S.App.D.C. 133, 176 F.2d 45; Keith v. State, 127 Tenn. 40, 44, 152 S.W. 1029; Coble v. State, 31 Ohio St. 100; Bartholomew v. People, 104 Ill. 601; See Nesbit v. Cumberland Contracting Co., Md., 75 A.2d 339, 20 A.L.R.......
  • State v. Morgan
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 9 Agosto 1976
    ...Zanone v. State, 97 Tenn. 101, 36 S.W. 711 (1896); Powers v. State, 117 Tenn. 363, 97 S.W. 815 (1906); Keith v. State, 127 Tenn. 40, 152 S.W. 1029 (1912); Brooks v. State, 187 Tenn. 67, 213 S.W.2d 7 (1948); Gray v. State, 191 Tenn. 526, 235 S.W.2d 20 (1950); State v. Fowler, 213 Tenn. 239, ......
  • State ex rel. Lentine v. State Board of Health, No. 31168.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 6 Diciembre 1933
    ...habit on a person, which distinguishes him from others. Cox v. Strickland, 101 Ga. 482; Berneker v. State, 40 Neb. 810; Keith v. State, 152 S.W. 1029, 127 Tenn. 40; Greer v. Active, etc., 99 Conn. 266; Feibelman v. Fire Ins. Co., 108 Ala. 180; Glove v. State, 200 Ala. 384; Harrison v. Laken......
  • Arterburn v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 24 Mayo 1965
    ...among his fellow employees. The proof of character, good or bad, is restricted to general reputation. Keith v. State, 127 Tenn. 40, 152 S.W. 1029 Page 654 In 22A C.J.S. Criminal Law § 677(3), page 710 it is said: 'As a general rule, character evidence is restricted in its admissibility to p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Henderson v. United States, No. 11368.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 27 Febrero 1953
    ...Evidence, 3rd Ed., § 980(2)(a), 519, 520; Campbell v. United States, 85 U.S.App.D.C. 133, 176 F.2d 45; Keith v. State, 127 Tenn. 40, 44, 152 S.W. 1029; Coble v. State, 31 Ohio St. 100; Bartholomew v. People, 104 Ill. 601; See Nesbit v. Cumberland Contracting Co., Md., 75 A.2d 339, 20 A.L.R.......
  • State v. Morgan
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 9 Agosto 1976
    ...Zanone v. State, 97 Tenn. 101, 36 S.W. 711 (1896); Powers v. State, 117 Tenn. 363, 97 S.W. 815 (1906); Keith v. State, 127 Tenn. 40, 152 S.W. 1029 (1912); Brooks v. State, 187 Tenn. 67, 213 S.W.2d 7 (1948); Gray v. State, 191 Tenn. 526, 235 S.W.2d 20 (1950); State v. Fowler, 213 Tenn. 239, ......
  • State ex rel. Lentine v. State Board of Health, No. 31168.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 6 Diciembre 1933
    ...habit on a person, which distinguishes him from others. Cox v. Strickland, 101 Ga. 482; Berneker v. State, 40 Neb. 810; Keith v. State, 152 S.W. 1029, 127 Tenn. 40; Greer v. Active, etc., 99 Conn. 266; Feibelman v. Fire Ins. Co., 108 Ala. 180; Glove v. State, 200 Ala. 384; Harrison v. Laken......
  • Arterburn v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 24 Mayo 1965
    ...among his fellow employees. The proof of character, good or bad, is restricted to general reputation. Keith v. State, 127 Tenn. 40, 152 S.W. 1029 Page 654 In 22A C.J.S. Criminal Law § 677(3), page 710 it is said: 'As a general rule, character evidence is restricted in its admissibility to p......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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