Martin v. People

Decision Date31 July 1972
Docket NumberNo. 24667,24667
Citation179 Colo. 237,499 P.2d 606
PartiesWilliam Clarence MARTIN, Plaintiff in Error, v. The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Defendant in Error.
CourtColorado Supreme Court

Rollie R. Rogers, Colo. State Public Defender, J. D. MacFarlane, Chief Deputy State Public Defender, Kenneth J. Russell, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, for plaintiff in error.

Duke W. Dunbar, Atty. Gen., John P. Moore, Deputy Atty. Gen., E. Ronald Beeks, Asst. Atty. Gen., Denver, for defendant in error.

KELLEY, Justice.

William Clarence Martin is here on writ of error challenging the correctness of his conviction of attempted theft.

The nature of the transaction, which resulted in the institution of the charge of attempted theft against the defendant, was established by the testimony of the alleged intended victims--Mullaney and McMahill. According to these two witnesses they were under the impression, by virtue of the conduct and statements of the defendant, that he was Willie Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The essence of their testimony was that 'Davis' had some 'entertainment centers' and television sets at the air freight terminal of TWA Airlines at Stapleton Airport, Denver. These applicances had been shipped to him from Los Angeles. However, in order to get delivery of them required the payment of $1,200 in C.O.D. charges. The complaining witnesses agreed to pay the $1,200 to TWA and in return they were to each receive an 'entertainment center' and sufficient merchandise to reimburse them for the C.O.D. money advanced by them.

The transaction was never consummated. Although a Denver Police Department detective, in the course of an investigation, contacted TWA and Acme Fast Freight (a common carrier that was to deliver the C.O.D. merchandise), as well as a California appliance store, there is nothing in the record to indicate whether the C.O.D. appliances actually existed. It therefore would be pure speculation for the jury to conclude that the television sets, consigned to the defendant, were not, in fact, at the TWA terminal.

At the close of the testimony and in his motion for acquittal or, in the alternative, for a new trial, the defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conviction of attempted theft, which the court, in each instance, denied. Because we agree with the defendant's contention, other alleged errors entitling him to a reversal will not be considered.


According to the record both Mullaney and McMahill stated unequivocally that the defendant did not suggest that the money be paid to him, but directly to TWA, and that it was the understanding of the parties to the transaction that upon the release of the property by TWA it would be under the control of the complaining witnesses until had realized the benefits of their bargain.

If the transaction had proceeded to its contemplated conclusion there would not have been a completed crime of theft by fraud and deceit. Consequently, the incompleted transaction here does not rise to the dignity of an attempt to commit such offense. Lewis v. People, 124 Colo. 62, 235 P.2d 348.

In Lewis, we said:

'An attempt to commit a crime is any overt act done with the intent to commit the crime, and which, except for the interference of some cause preventing the carrying out of the intent, would have resulted in the commission of the crime. An indictable attempt, therefore, consists of two important elements: (1) An intent to commit the crime, and (2) a direct ineffectual act done towards its commission.'

Thus, to be guilty of an attempt the end intended to be...

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6 cases
  • People v. Gonzales
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • August 6, 1974
    ...Corpus delicti must be corroborated independently of the confession. People v. Maestes, Colo., 517 P.2d 461 (1973); Martin v. People, 179 Colo. 237, 499 P.2d 606 (1972) and cases cited therein. The corroboration may be either direct or Here, a brief reference to the facts set out previously......
  • Lloyd A. Fry Roofing Co. v. State Dept. of Health Air Pollution Variance Bd.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • July 31, 1972
    ... ... [179 Colo. 228] Department of Health v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., Supra; People v. International Steel Corp., 102 Cal.App.2d Supp. 935, 226 P.2d 587; City of Miami v. City of Coral Gables, Fla.App., 233 So.2d 7; Board of Health ... ...
  • People v. Martinez
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals
    • April 26, 2001
    ...interference of some cause preventing the carrying out of the intent, would have resulted in commission of the crime. Martin v. People, 179 Colo. 237, 499 P.2d 606 (1972). The overt act need not be the last proximate act necessary to complete the offense. People v. Young, 694 P.2d 841 A sub......
  • People v. Applegate, 25270
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • April 30, 1973
    ...court has deviated from the necessity to show 'some real and not imaginary' independent evidence of the Corpus delicti. See Martin v. People, Colo., 499 P.2d 606; Owen v. People, 155 Colo. 19, 392 P.2d 163; Meredith v. People, 152 Colo. 69, 380 P.2d 227; Williams v. People, 114 Colo. 207, 1......
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1 books & journal articles
  • A Dui Primer
    • United States
    • Colorado Bar Association Colorado Lawyer No. 15-9, September 1986
    • Invalid date
    ...Commonwealth v. Tarbert, 502 A.2d 221 (Pa.S.Ct. 1985). 20. See, Martinez v. People, 267 P.2d 654, 656 (Colo. 1954); Martin v. People, 499 P.2d 606, 608 (Colo. 1972); Applegate v. People, 509 P.2d 1238 (Colo. 1973). These cases often cite to Sullivan v. People, 58 Neb. 796, 79 N.W. 721. 21. ......

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