Meeks v. State

Decision Date01 March 1968
Docket NumberNo. 30910,30910
Citation234 N.E.2d 629,249 Ind. 659
PartiesBill MEEKS, Appellant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee.
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

William C. Erbecker, Indianapolis, for appellant.

John J. Dillon, Atty. Gen., of Indiana, Dennis J. Dewey, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

LEWIS, Chief Justice.

The appellant was indicted in Marion Criminal Court, Division Two, for the crime of rape. The matter was submitted to trial by jury, and it returned a verdict of guilty. The appellant was sentenced to a term of not less than two (2) nor more than twenty-one (21) years.

Appellant claims two (2) alleged errors pursuant to Rule 2--17 of the Supreme Court Rules (1964), the first of which is as follows:

The trial court abused its discretion when it allowed the State of Indiana to introduce evidence that the appellant had committed the offense of rape on a woman other than the prosecuting witness.

The evidence most favorable to the State establishes the following: The prosecuting witness was twenty-six (26) years old and on the evening in question, accompanied by a girl friend, had gone to a tavern where she made the acquaintance of appellant. The prosecutrix and appellant left the tavern in the company of another couple and went to another bar. After leaving the second bar, the prosecutrix and appellant left in appellant's automobile and drove to a location on the outskirts of the City of Indianapolis. The car was parked, and the prosecutrix testified that she left the automobile, started around the rear of said car and started to run; that appellant grabbed her by the hair, threw her back against the car, and finally pushed her into the front seat of the car; that appellant threatened the woman if she yelled, and she fought back and slapped the appellant, and he threatened to kill her; that her head was pinned under the steering wheel and he held one arm behind her body, and while she was in this position he slapped her several times; and that during the course of this conduct he had sexual contact with the woman repeatedly. Prosecutrix testified that she did not at any time give her consent, that she resisted to the extent of her ability, and that she was finally rendered semi-conscious. Later examination by a physician indicated that she was bruised and had contusions on both hips.

The appellant in his defense admits that the act of sexual intercourse took place, but denied that any force was involved.

The witness, whose testimony appellant assigns as error, testified that appellant had carnal knowledge of her by force approximately thirty-five (35) days prior to the act charged in the indictment. It is the appellant's contention that this evidence was highly prejudicial, and should not have been admitted for the reason that it did not prove any of the essential allegations of the indictment, and since this charge was not set forth in the indictment, it violated the general rule that a defendant is entitled to be informed specifically of the crimes charged and should not be placed in the position of coming to trial uninformed as to the nature of the evidence to be presented against him. 1 Ewbank's Indiana Criminal Law, Symmes Ed., § 384, p. 236, reads as follows:

'Proof by the state of other crimes than the one for which the defendant is on trial is generally not admissible. Such evidence is admissible only where the crime charged has been established and the motive, malice intent or guilty knowledge of the defendant is an issue. Evidence of other crimes than the one charged is also admissible where the evidence discloses a common scheme or plan. This general rule does not apply where the chief element of the offense is illicit intercourse between the sexes; and such evidence of prior and subsequent acts is admissible, subject to exclusion, if in the discretion of the trial court, that it is too remote.'

A full discussion of the general rule and the exception as set out in Ewbank's (supra), including its historic background, is contained in State v. Robbins (1943), 221 Ind. 125, 46 N.E.2d 691.

This Court quoted with authority from State v. Reineke (1914), 89 Ohio St. 390, 106 N.E. 52, L.R.A.1915A, 138, in making its determination of State v. Robbins (supra). The logic for this rule is set out in State v. Reineke (supra) as follows:

'These sexual crimes, which are an exception to the general rule as to other similar acts being admissible in evidence, may be characterized as crimes in continuando. The law recognizes as a matter of common knowledge that where a single act of that character arises, there is great probability of other similar acts, either before or after, or both, and therefore the sexual conduct of the parties in question toward each other, especially the lecherous and bestial disposition of the defendant toward the prosecutrix, is a proper fact for the consideration of the jury, not to prove some other and independent offense, but for the purpose of making more probable the specific and distinct offense charged.'

Also, in Lamar v. State (1964), 245 Ind. 104, 195 N.E.2d 98, which was a prosecution by the State for sodomy, this Court stated:

'As an exception to the general rule, it is always permissible for the state, in actions involving abnormal sexual intercourse, to introduce evidence as to other improper acts of sexual intimacy committed by the defendant. Borolos v. State (1924), 194 Ind. 469, 473, 143 N.E. 360. It is said in State v. Robbins (1943), 221 Ind. 125, 136, 137, 138, 46 N.E.2d 691, 695, 696, that this evidence is not admissible for the purpose of establishing the guilt of the defendant as to the particular offense charged, but is admitted in order to make it possible "for the jury properly to appreciate the testimony in reference to such principal transaction (People v. Jenness, 5 Mich. 305, 323). * * *" * * * Or, as otherwise stated, "for the purpose of making more probable the specific and distinct offense charged (State v. Reineke, 89 Ohio St. 390, 394, 106 N.E. 52, L.R.A.1915A, 138)." See also: Kallas v. State (1949), 227 Ind. 103, 83 N.E.2d 769.'

We believe, however, that there are limitations to the above doctrine and the case at bar calls for a full consideration of the basic demands of fairness in its application.

We are impressed with the opinion in Lovely v. United States (August 10, 1948), Cir.Ct. of Appeals, 4th Cir., 169 F.2d 386, as the facts were very similar to this case. This was an appeal from a sentence of life imprisonment in a rape case. The Federal Court had jurisdiction in that the crime was alleged to have been committed on a military...

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  • Mitchell v. State, 57746
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • February 27, 1989
    ...Austin v. State, 262 Ind. 529, 319 N.E.2d 130, cert. den. 421 U.S. 1012, 95 S.Ct. 2417, 44 L.Ed.2d 680, not following Meeks v. State, 249 Ind. 659, 234 N.E.2d 629 (1968); Porter v. State, 272 Ind. 267, 397 N.E.2d 269 (1979); People v. Clark, 62 Mich.App. 740, 233 N.W.2d 856 (1975); State v.......
  • People v. Burgin, 77-1886
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    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 25, 1979
    ...the State's evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Defendant cites Lovely v. United States (4th Cir. 1948), 169 F.2d 386; Meeks v. State (1968), 249 Ind. 659, 234 N.E.2d 629 and State v. Sauter (1951), 125 Mont. 109, 232 P.2d 731, in support of his contention. Defendant uses the quote, "The fact......
  • Derouen v. State
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    • November 20, 2008
    ...Austin v. State, 262 Ind. 529, 319 N.E.2d 130, cert. den. 421 U.S. 1012, 95 S.Ct. 2417, 44 L.Ed.2d 680, not following Meeks v. State, 249 Ind. 659, 234 N.E.2d 629 (1968); Porter v. State, 272 Ind. 267, 397 N.E.2d 269 (1979); People v. Clark, 62 Mich.App. 740, 233 N.W.2d 856 (1975); State v.......
  • Merry v. State
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    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • October 7, 1975
    ...law is well settled that evidence regarding other sex offenses similar to that charged is admissible.' Abruptly, in Meeks v. State (1968), 249 Ind. 659, 234 N.E.2d 629, the court declared that Lamar, supra, proceeded too far and did not fit within any of the exceptions to the general rule e......
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