Mobley v. State

Decision Date29 July 1899
Citation26 So. 732,41 Fla. 621
PartiesMOBLEY v. STATE.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Error to circuit court, Suwanee county; John F. White, Judge.

Mack Mobley was convicted of murder, and brings error. Affirmed.

Syllabus by the Court

SYLLABUS

1. 'Great latitude is to be allowed in the reception of indirect or circumstantial evidence. It includes all evidence of an indirect nature, whether the inferences afforded by it be drawn from prior experience, or be a deduction of reason from the circumstances of the particular case, or of reason aided by experience. The competency of a collateral fact to be used as the basis of legitimate argument is not to be determined by the conclusiveness of the inferences it may afford in reference to the litigated fact. It is enough if these may tend, even in a slight degree, to elucidate the inquiry, or to assist, though remotely, to a determination probably founded in truth.'

2. 'The proof of marriage, as of other issues, is either by direct evidence establishing the fact, or by evidence of collateral facts and circumstances from which its existence may be inferred. Evidence of the former kind, or what is equivalent to it, is required upon the trial of indictments for polygamy and adultery and in actions for criminal conversation; it being necessary, in such cases, to prove a marriage valid in all respects. But in all other cases any satisfactory evidence is sufficient. General conduct is admissible to prove the fact of the marriage of the parties in ordinary cases.'

3. When the verdict convicts of murder in the second degree, chapter 4392, Act 1895, forbids any interference with it on the ground that it is not supported by the evidence, if the proofs were sufficient to sustain a higher degree of the crime, even though such proofs do not, in terms, make out a case of murder in the second degree as defined by the statute.

COUNSEL J. B. Johnson, for plaintiff in error.

William B. Lamar, Atty. Gen., for the State.

OPINION

TAYLOR, C.J.

The plaintiff in error was indicted and tried for murder in the first degree, and convicted and sentenced for murder in the second degree, at the spring term. 1899, of the circuit court of Suwanee county, and takes writ of error.

At the trial, one L. T. Boatright, a witness for the state testified that on the night the deceased was killed the defendant came to his store, and stated that he was the man that did the cutting of the woman killed, and that he wanted to give himself up to the sheriff, and that he wanted some one to go down there with him for protection. The witness stated that he then searched him, and found a bottle of laudanum in his pocket, and a package of something in his shoe that he (defendant) claimed to be 'Rough on Rats.' The witness was here shown a bottle and package and asked if they were the packages he took from the defendant the night of the homicide. He replied that he did not know, but that they looked like them. Then the witness stated that he did not know whether 'Rough on Rats' was a deadly poison or not, but that it was said to be. He then stated that laudanum was a deadly poison. To this testimony in reference to the poisonous character of 'Rough on Rats' and laudanum the defendant objected on the grounds that it was irrelevant, as the allegation in the indictment was that the killing was done by cutting or stabbing, and not with poison; and because the state had not shown any animus on the part of the prisoner towards the deceased, and had proven no threats made by defendant towards the deceased; and because it would have a tendency to blacken the defendant's character, and prejudice the minds of the jury. The court overruled the objection upon the ground that the state might prove threats further on, to which ruling the defendant excepted.

After the state had rested its case, the defendant's counsel moved the court to withdraw from the jury all the testimony as to the bottle of laudanum, and 'Rough on Rats,' or deadly poisons, on the grounds that said testimony was not pertinent to the issue, and is in support of and explains no part of the allegations in the indictment and because it had a tendency to confuse and prejudice the minds of the jury against the prisoner; and because there had been no evidence of threats by the accused against the deceased, or evidence that the prisoner and the deceased were not on the best of terms; and because the indictment alleged the killing to have been with a knife, or sharp instrument and not with poison. But the judge overruled the motion, to which ruling the defendant excepted. These rulings are assigned and urged as error.

In applying the test of relevancy to the questioned evidence all the facts and circumstances in proof should be considered. There was proof tending to establish the following facts: The defendant was a married man, but for about two months prior to the homicide had been living in illicit intercourse with the deceased. He went to the house of deceased at about supper time, knocked on the door, and, upon the deceased opening the door, and turning to walk back into the house, defendant immediately stabbed her in the right side and back of the neck, inflicting the mortal wound, and then...

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21 cases
  • White v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 21 Mayo 1910
    ... ... by the conclusiveness of the inferences it may afford in ... reference to the litigated fact. It is enough if these may ... tend, even in a slight degree, to elucidate the inquiry, or ... to assist, though remotely, to a determination probably ... founded in truth.' [59 Fla. 55] Mobley v. State, ... 41 Fla. 621, 26 So. 732; Reynolds v. State, 52 Fla ... 409, 42 So. 373 ... In a ... prosecution for murder, evidence as to the particulars or ... merits of a previous difficulty between the defendant and the ... deceased, not within the issues being tried, is not ... ...
  • Wadsworth v. State, 596
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 14 Agosto 1967
    ...in a slight degree, to elucidate the injury, or to assist, though remotely, to a determination probably founded in truth. Mobley v. State, 1899, 41 Fla. 621, 26 So. 732. The testimony concerning appellant's habit of intoxication was admissible on principle and precedent, unless precluded by......
  • Cannon v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 30 Enero 1926
    ... ... v. State, supra ... The ... competency of circumstantial evidence is not to be determined ... by the conclusiveness of the inferences which [91 Fla. 220] ... may be drawn from it. It is enough that these may tend, even ... in a slight degree, to elucidate the inquiry. Mobley v ... State, 26 So. 732, 41 Fla. 621. Several witnesses, who ... had seen and had an opportunity to observe the acts, conduct ... appearance, and statements of the defendant at or near her ... automobile shortly after the fatal injury to the deceased, ... were allowed to testify, over ... ...
  • Martin v. State
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • 17 Junio 1930
    ... ... 22] ... but such evidence is sufficient to sustain the higher ... offense, the verdict will be sustained as against a motion ... for a new trial based upon the ground that the evidence is ... insufficient to support the verdict. McCoy v. State, ... 40 Fla. 494, 24 So. 485; Mobley v. State, 41 Fla ... 621, 26 So. 732; Morrison v. State, 42 Fla. 149, 28 ... So. 97; Ammons v. State, 88 Fla. 444, 102 So. 642 ... To come ... within the above rule, it is not necessary that both crimes ... be included in the same statute; as, for example, the ... different degrees ... ...
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