Morgan v. State

Citation190 Ind. 411,130 N.E. 528
Decision Date08 April 1921
Docket NumberNo. 23756.,23756.
PartiesMORGAN v. STATE.
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Appeal from Circuit Court, St. Joseph County; Shepard J. Crumpacker, Special Judge.

Kenneth Morgan was convicted of assault and battery with intent to kill, and he appeals. Reversed, with instructions to sustain motion for new trial.Arthur L. Gilliom and Eli F. Seebirt, both of South Bend, for appellant.

Ele Stansbury and Remster A. Bingham, both of Indianapolis, for the State.

WILLOUGHBY, C. J.

The appellant was convicted upon an affidavit charging him with assault and battery with intent to kill. To this affidavit he entered a plea of “not guilty” and also filed a special plea in writing setting up the defense of insanity.

A trial by jury resulted in a verdict of “guilty.” Judgment was rendered on such verdict and the appellant appeals and assigns as error that the court erred in overruling his motion for a new trial. The only errors alleged and not waived arise upon the giving and refusing of certain instructions.

The appellant claims that the court erred in giving of its own motion instructions Nos. 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, and 7B, also that the court erred in refusing to give instructions 1, 3, and 4 tendered by the appellant.

[1] Instruction No. 3 complained of by the appellant is on the subject of “reasonable doubt” and is as follows:

“A ‘reasonable doubt’ is a doubt based on reason, and which is reasonable in view of all the evidence. And after an impartial comparison and consideration of all the evidence, if you can candidly say that you are not satisfied of the defendant's guilt, you have a reasonable doubt; but, if after such impartial comparison and consideration of all the evidence you can truthfully say that you have an abiding conviction of the defendant's guilt, such as you would be willing to act upon in the more weighty and important matters, relating to your own affairs, then you have no reasonable doubt. But if you can reconcile the evidence before you upon any reasonable hypothesis consistent with the defendant's innocence, you should do so, and in that case find him not guilty.”

The objection of appellant to this instruction is that the test of reasonable doubt involves matters of the highest and most important affairs, while the instruction given uses the term “more weighty and important matters” instead of “matters of the highest and most important affairs.”

Appellant also claims that an instruction on reasonable doubt should make it plain to the jury that a juror should not find the defendant guilty unless the evidence produces a conviction upon which the juror would be willing to act without hesitation in matters of the highest and most important concern to himself, when there is no compulsion resting upon him to act at all.

[2] We think appellant is right in his contention. The instruction given is too narrow. Whatever is stated in that instruction as to reasonable doubt is true as far as it goes, but it is not as full and complete as the law requires. A juror in a criminal case ought not to condemn unless the evidence excludes from his mind all reasonable doubt as to the defendant's guilt; that is, unless he be so convinced by the evidence, no matter what the class of the evidence of the defendant's guilt, that a prudent man would feel safe to act upon that conviction in matters of the highest concern and importance to his own dearest personal interest, under circumstances where there was no compulsion resting upon him to act at all. Bradley v. State, 31 Ind. 492.

[3] No other instructions given by the court supplies the defects apparent in this one. The defendant was entitled to an instruction which stated the law upon the subject of “reasonable doubt” fully and completely and instruction No. 1 tendered by him does so. See Bradley v. State, supra. This instruction so tendered by appellant should have been given, and the failure of the court to do so is error.

[4] Instruction No. 6 given by the court is condemned by appellant because he claims it was not applicable to this case, because the defense relied upon was insanity. This instruction was upon the subject of intent as an essential element of the crime charged. That the defense relied upon by the defendant was insanity cannot make any difference in view of the fact that by instruction No. 10 the jury were told that under our law a person of unsound mind cannot be convicted of any crime. This instruction states that criminal intent by the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Other instructions make it clear that a person of unsound mind is incapable of forming an intent. It was not error to give this instruction.

[5][6] Instruction No. 7 complained of by the appellant stated that-

“If you find from the evidence in this case that the defendant deliberately used a deadly weapon in committing an assault and battery upon Pauline MacDonald, in such manner as was reasonably calculated to take or destroy her life, then the law permits you to infer from such facts that the defendant intended to take life from the act itself; and, if you further find that the shooting was done purposely, without justification, or legal excuse, or reasonable provocation, then under such finding of facts you may also infer malice from the act iself.”

This instruction was not erroneous. See Coolman v. State, 163 Ind. 503, 72 N. E. 568.

[7][8] Instruction No. 7B states that-

“Proof of motive on the part of the state is not indispensable nor essential to a conviction, while a motive to commit a crime may be shown as a circumstance to aid in the fixing of the crime on the defendant, yet the state is not required to prove a motive on the part of the defendant in order to convict him; and you will be justified in finding a motive from the commission of the crime itself, if the commission of it by the defendant is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

This instruction states the law correctly upon the subject of motive and is not an invasion of the province of the jury. Wheeler v. State, 158 Ind. 687, 63 N. E. 975.

[9][10] Instruction No. 8 is objectionable in that it states that if the appellant had an insane impulse to kill Pauline MacDonald, which he could not control, then mental disease produced it. If he could have controlled it, then his will must have assented to the act, and it was...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 cases
  • State v. Sapp
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1947
    ...74 Mo. 247; 14 Am. Jur., sec. 36, p. 793; People v. Lowhone, 292 Ill. 32, 126 N.E. 620; Bradley v. State, 31 Ind. 492; Morgan v. State, 190 Ind. 411, 130 N.E. 528; Parsons v. State, 81 Ala. 577, 60 Am. Rep. 193; Bell v. State, 120 Ark. 530, 180 S.W. 186; Ryan v. People, 60 Colo. 425, 153 Pa......
  • State v. Sapp
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1947
    ... ... defendant's Instruction D-8. Clark and Marshall on Crimes ... (2 Ed.), p. 149, sec. 97; State v. Kotovsky, 74 Mo ... 247; 14 Am. Jur., sec. 36, p. 793; People v ... Lowhone, 292 Ill. 32, 126 N.E. 620; Bradley v ... State, 31 Ind. 492; Morgan v. State, 190 Ind ... 411, 130 N.E. 528; Parsons v. State, 81 Ala. 577, 60 ... Am. Rep. 193; Bell v. State, 120 Ark. 530, 180 S.W ... 186; Ryan v. People, 60 Colo. 425, 153 P. 756; ... State v. Johnson, 40 Conn. 136; State v ... Reidell, 9 Houst. 470, 14 A. 550; Smith v. United ... ...
  • Brewer v. State, 968S146
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • November 14, 1969
    ...his impulse to commit the act charged. Flowers v. State, supra; Kallas v. State (1949), 227 Ind. 103, 83 N.E.2d 769; Morgan v. State (1921), 190 Ind. 411, 130 N.E. 528; Plake v. State, supra; Goodwin v. State, supra; Bradley v. State (1869), 31 Ind. 492; Stevens v. State (1869), 31 Ind. Thi......
  • Eatman v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1934
    ... ... to go to the jury, and the weight of such evidence is for the ... McCully ... v. State, 131 Ark. 450, 217 S.W. 453 ... The ... existence of and the extent of insanity is a question of fact ... for the jury to determine from the evidence ... Morgan ... v. State, 130 N.E. 528, 190 Ind. 411; Commonwealth v ... Wiggins, 173 S.W. 946, 165 Ky. 73 ... Whether ... a defendant was incapable of committing a murder on ... conflicting evidence was a question purely for the jury ... Belcher ... v. Commonwealth, 177 S.W. 455, ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT