Morris v. State, 25892

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
Citation158 Tex.Crim. 516,251 S.W.2d 731
Docket NumberNo. 25892,25892
Decision Date11 June 1952

Page 731

251 S.W.2d 731
158 Tex.Crim. 516

No. 25892.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas.
June 11, 1952.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 15, 1952.

W. J. Durham, Dallas, Thomas H. Dent, Galveston, Henry E. Doyle, Houston, for appellant.

Sam W. Davis, Crim. Dist. Atty., King C. Haynie, Asst. Crim. Dist. Atty., Houston, George P. Blackburn, State's Atty., of Austin, for the State.


The offense is murder; the punishment, life.

By all the witnesses, it was established that the homicide [158 Tex.Crim. 517] occurred inside, and at the front end of, a City of Houston bus, while taking on passengers on Main Street at approximately 2:30 p. m. on October 11, 1951. The appellant, a 23-year old exconvict, was a passenger; the deceased was the driver of the bus. The lethal weapon was a pocket knife with a blade 3 or 3 1/2 inches long.

As appellant entered the bus, he had some words with a fellow passenger. Because of this controversy, the deceased tendered the appellant a transfer in lieu of the fare he had paid and suggested that he get off the bus and catch the next one, in order to avoid trouble that seemed to be pending. In reluctant compliance with

Page 732

this suggestion, appellant prepared to leave the bus; but, instead of getting off at the rear exit as instructed by the deceased, he proceeded to leave by the front door, where other passengers were entering. It was at this juncture that the assault took place.

Appellant does not claim that deceased was armed in any way, but contends that deceased had kicked him; that they began to fight; and that he cut deceased in order to get free from him.

Appellant admitted having drawn his knife and opened the blade upon entering the bus because of the alleged abusive conduct toward him by the fellow passenger in question. A woman, who was entering the bus as appellant prepared to leave, was cut on the ear by appellant's knife as he drew back the same preparatory to cutting the deceased.

As is often the case, the testimony of the other occupants of the bus presented some conflict, the principal point of variance being which of the participants made the first assault. Some of the witnesses testified that the deceased did not touch the appellant; that appellant entered the bus with a drawn knife in his hand and conducted himself in such a manner as to evidence malice toward the world. Others testified that, when the appellant refused to leave the bus at the accustomed exit, the deceased kicked him and tried to force him to use the proper exit.

The court instructed the jury on the law of murder with and without malice, the requirement of a specific intent to kill, and on the law of self defense. They found against the appellant, and we find their verdict justified from the evidence.

[158 Tex.Crim. 518] We shall attempt to discuss appellant's contentions in the order presented.

Bill of exception No. 1 complains of the trial court's refusal to grant appellant's motion to quash the indictment on the sole grounds that there had been a systematic exclusion of members of the colored race in the selection of grand jury commissioners in Harris County.

As authority for his contention, appellant cites us Smith v. State, 44 Tex.Cr.R. 90, 69 S.W. 151; Cassell v. Texas, 70 S.Ct. 629, 339 U.S. 282, 94 L.Ed. 839; and Norris v. Alabama, 294 U.S. 587, 55 S.Ct. 579, 79 L.Ed. 1074. The Cassell and Norris cases are not authority, since they deal with discrimination in the selection of grand and petit juries. We are aware of no case from the Supreme Court of the United States holding that an indictment in a state court may be invalidated solely because racial discrimination, whthin the meaning of the 14th Amendment, had entered into the selection and organization of the jury commissioners.

There were three contentions raised in Ross v. State, Tex.Cr.App., 233 S.W.2d 126. One of them was the above. When this case reached the Supreme Court of the United States, Ross v. Texas, 341 U.S. 918, 71 S.Ct. 742, 95 L.Ed. 1352, it was reversed with a memorandum opinion citing as authority Cassell v. Texas, 339 U.S. 282, 70 S.Ct. 629, 94 L.Ed. 839. In the Cassell case, the contention now before us was not raised. Therefore, it must follow that the Ross case was reversed on a point common to it and the Cassell case, and not on the above contention.

Appellant forcefully asserts that our opinion in Smith v. State, 44 Tex.Cr.R. 90, 69 S.W. 151, decided in June, 1902, would authorize a reversal of the case at bar. We shall proceed to...

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27 cases
  • Swift v. State, 48313
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • May 22, 1974
    ...263; McMurrin v. State, 156 Tex.Cr.R. 434, 239 S.W.2d 632, cert. denied, 342 U.S. 874, 72 S.Ct. 115, 96 L.Ed. 657; Morris v. State, 158 Tex.Cr.R. 516, 251 S.W.2d 731, cert. denied, 345 U.S. 951, 73 S.Ct. 863, 97 L.Ed. 1374; Williams v. State, 167 Tex.Cr.R. 503, 321 S.W.2d 72, cert. denied, ......
  • Walker v. State, 27390
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • February 9, 1955
    ...the grand jury itself. As to the jury commissioners, the proof is very similar to that which was before this Court recently in Morris v. State, 251 S.W.2d 731, writ of certiorari denied 345 U.S. 951, 73 S.Ct. 863, 97 L.Ed. 1374, and Addison v. State, Tex.Cr.App., 271 S.W.2d 947, 949. What w......
  • Suit v. Ellis, 18128.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • September 7, 1960
    ...facts set forth and that his attendance at court to give such testimony can be procured. In a leading Texas case, Morris v. State, 1952, 158 Tex.Cr.R. 516, 251 S.W.2d 731, 733, the court, called upon to rule on the denial of motions for continuance and a new trial by the trial judge, "The m......
  • Fontenot v. State, 41205
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • April 17, 1968
    ...S.W.2d 726; Massoletti v. State, 165 Tex.Cr.R. 120, 303 S.W.2d 412; Ysasga v. State, 164 Tex.Cr.R. 237, 297 S.W.2d 835; Morris v. State, 158 Tex.Cr.R. 516, 251 S.W.2d 731; and Belrose v. State, 156 Tex.Cr.R. 322, 242 S.W.2d 378. In his brief appellant refers to the testimony of Mr. and Mrs.......
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