Lincoln v. State

Decision Date22 December 1921
Docket NumberNo. 23551.,23551.
Citation133 N.E. 351,191 Ind. 426
CourtIndiana Supreme Court


Appeal from Circuit Court, Randolph County; Emerson E. McGriff, Special Judge.

Calvin Lincoln was convicted of conspiracy to commit arson, denied new trial, and appeals. Reversed, with directions for new trial.

Bales & Macy, of Winchester, for appellant.

Ele Stansbury, of Williamsport, for the State.


The appellant was convicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit the crime of arson by burning a store building in the town of Ridgeville, Ind. He was indicted with three other persons, but was tried separately. The persons indicted with him were Enoch L. Pierson, Elisha Roberts, and Frederick Drake.

The only error relied on is overruling appellant's motion for a new trial. A bill of exceptions recites that in the opening statement to the jury counsel for the state asserted “that two of these codefendants have been heretofore convicted in this court; that in the examination of a witness he asked whether or not the witness instituted a certain suit “before or since the conviction of two of three of these defendants,” or “before or after he learned that two of these defendants were guilty of burning this store”; that he asked another witness if the man he saw coming out of the burning building was “the same man who was convicted in this court; and asked another witness if a designated codefendant of appellant was “the same who was sentenced to prison for 2 to 14 years as the result of the verdict rendered in his trial of the same case”; and asked another witness if she was the witness of that name “that testified in the case of State v. Enoch L. Pierson, who was convicted in this court last November”; and asked another witness if Elisha Roberts was “the same man who was convicted in this court by a jury”; that counsel for the state not only asked Roberts, on cross-examination, if he had been convicted of a felony, but also asked him if he was the same man who was “found guilty by the jury on the 29th day of March, 1918, as one of the codefendants in this case,” and “was sentenced in this court on the 1st day of this month from 2 to 14 years as the result of this verdict”; that, after defendant's evidence had closed without the examination of Pierson, counsel for the state called him to the witness stand, and except for asking his name and residence put to him only the question whether he was “one of the codefendants here who was, on the 3rd day of December, 1917, convicted of the crime of conspiracy to commit a felony as one of the defendants; that in the closing argument counsel for the state, referring to the codefendant Roberts, and his answer on cross-examination that he had been convicted, said: “Roberts came on the witness stand and told you he had been convicted; I guess that is evidence.” And, referring to the answer of a witness that he knew Frederick Drake “for about a year before he committed suicide,” counsel for the state said: “What became of Frederick Drake? Frederick Drake's suicide is shown here. Dr. Shank told you what became of him and when it happened. *** Why did Frederick Drake take that course of action if he was an innocent man?” The contention of the state was that appellant was in Ridgeville with his codefendant Roberts on the night of the fire. In closing the argument counsel for the state, referring to the trial in which Roberts had been convicted, said: “Who said Calvin Lincoln was there? - [a certain named witness],-, and the jury that tried the former case said he was there.”

As each of these statements was made the appellant objected, and each time moved to set aside the submission and discharge the jury. Several times the court “sustained the...

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7 cases
  • Jefferson v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • January 30, 1980
    ... ...         Indiana case law has addressed this issue and has decided that a conviction or guilty plea of one defendant indicted for the same offense as other co-defendants is not substantive evidence of the remaining defendants' criminality and is therefore generally inadmissible. Lincoln v. State (1921), 191 Ind. 426, 133 N.E. 351; Zarnik v. State (1977), Ind.App., 361 N.E.2d 202. Although both Lincoln and Zarnik involved situations where the defendant was complaining of error when the State was erroneously allowed to make references to a co-defendant's prior conviction or guilty ... ...
  • Blue v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • June 21, 1946
    ... ... [67 N.E.2d 381] ... general attitude toward the circumstances of the case, his ... interest, his motives, his prejudices, character and other ... influences which operate upon the mind, and only clear abuse ... of such discretion demands reversal. Lincoln v ... State, 1921, 191 Ind. 426, 133 N.E. 351; Denny v ... State, 1921, 190 Ind. 76, 129 N.E. 308; Craig, ... Ex'x, v. Citizens Trust Company, 1940, 217 Ind. 434, ... 451, 26 N.E.2d 1006; Perfect v. State, 1925, 197 ... Ind. 401, 141 N.E. 52 ...           ... Appellant ... ...
  • Borders v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • November 18, 1997
    ... ... In Hunter, we reiterated the long-standing principle that evidence of a conviction or guilty plea of others charged with the same offense as the defendant is not substantive evidence of the defendant's guilt or innocence. See Lincoln v. State, 191 Ind. 426, 429, 133 N.E. 351, 352 (1921); Jefferson v. State, 399 N.E.2d 816, 825 (Ind.Ct.App.1980). See also United States v. Johnson, 26 F.3d 669, 677 (7th Cir.1994); United States v. Mitchell, 1 F.3d 235, 240 (4th Cir.1993); United States v. Dunn, 841 F.2d 1026, 1030 (10th ... ...
  • Moore v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • December 4, 1987
    ... ... This Court found that "[t]he fact that others indicted for the same offense had been found guilty was not evidence against the appellant, who was being tried separately, and should not have been considered by the jury ... " Lincoln v. State (1921), 191 Ind. 426, 429, ... 133 N.E. 351, 352. The admission of the co-defendants' conviction rose to the level of reversible error only because the prosecutor made constant, improper reference to the co-defendants' conviction in arguing the defendant's guilt and because the judge ... ...
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