Murphy v. State, No. 46349

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtRODGERS; ETHRIDGE
Citation246 So.2d 920
PartiesPaul MURPHY v. STATE of Mississippi.
Docket NumberNo. 46349
Decision Date19 April 1971

Page 920

246 So.2d 920
Paul MURPHY
v.
STATE of Mississippi.
No. 46349.
Supreme Court of Mississippi.
April 19, 1971.

Page 921

James W. Bingham, Carroll E. White, Tupelo, for appellant.

A. F. Summer, Atty. Gen., by Velia Ann Mayer, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, for appellee.

RODGERS, Justice:

The appellant was indicted by the Grand Jury of Lee County, Mississippi, for the crime of rape of a female child under the age of twelve years and, after preliminary sanity examination, he was tried, convicted and sentenced to serve a term of his natural life in the state penitentiary. From this judgment of conviction and sentence he has appealed to this Court and now contends that he should be granted a new trial because, it is said, (1) the trial court permitted the State's attorney to ask the prospective jurors improper questions on voir dire; (2) the trial court should have directed a verdict of acquittal at the close of the prosecution's case; (3) the trial court should not have granted the 'do not have to know' instruction; (4) the court erroneously permitted the State to recall the prosecutrix for other evidence after the court had recessed.

During the voir dire examination of prospective jurors the prosecuting attorney asked each venireman the question that, if the State proved that the prosecutrix was a female child under twelve years of age and that the defendant attempted to forcibly have carnal knowledge of her and in so doing 'her body was torn or lacerated,' could you (the juror) and would you vote to return a verdict of guilty in the case?

This sort of voir dire examination has been frowned upon by this Court. In the case of Phenizee v. State, 180 Miss. 746, 178 So. 579 (1938), this Court had this to say on this subject:

* * * The district attorney has the right in a capital case to reasonably satisfy himself that no juror who entertains conscientious scruples against the death penalty shall remain on a jury, even though the juror or jury may have passed the examination by the judge; and he may to a reasonable length search further into that inquiry. But in so doing he must not go to the extent of forcing what is in the nature of a committal as to what the juror or jury would do in that particular case, nor shall the examination be of such character as to introduce or create the impression that a juror will rest under the frown of official displeasure unless he return a death verdict. The examination on the question we are here considering should be in the abstract as to the class of cases, one of which is about to be tried; not what the juror or jury might or might not do in the particular case then and there at the bar. * * * (180 Miss. at 754, 755, 178 So. at 582)

In...

To continue reading

Request your trial
21 practice notes
  • Woodward v. State, No. DP-81
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 5, 1988
    ...to prove. Finally, "the voir dire examination is largely a matter within the sound discretion of the trial judge...." Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920, 922 (Miss.1971). The appellant admits that there was no departure from statutory procedure, and it is this Court's opinion that the Uniform C......
  • West v. State, No. DP-88
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 4, 1989
    ..."avoid questions seeking a promise or commitment from the jury to convict if the State proved certain facts," citing Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920 (Miss.1971). West I, 485 So.2d at Our law allows an attorney for either side to probe the prejudices of the prospective jurors to the end that ......
  • De La Beckwith v. State, Nos. 94-KA-00402-SC
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 22, 1997
    ...prospective jurors for cause, but to give trial counsel clues from which they will exercise peremptory challenges. Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920, 921 (Miss.1971); Atlanta Joint Terminals v. Knight, 98 Ga.App. 482, 106 S.E.2d 417 This is the extent of the rights of litigants in the jury sel......
  • Callen v. State, CR–13–0099
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 28, 2017
    ...trial judge must be given a considerable discretion.’ Harris v. State, 532 So.2d 602, 606 (Miss. 1988) ; 284 So.3d 217 Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920, 922 (Miss. 1971). This discretion includes passing upon the extent and propriety of questions addressed to the prospective jurors. Rigby v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Woodward v. State, No. DP-81
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 5, 1988
    ...to prove. Finally, "the voir dire examination is largely a matter within the sound discretion of the trial judge...." Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920, 922 (Miss.1971). The appellant admits that there was no departure from statutory procedure, and it is this Court's opinion that the Uniform C......
  • West v. State, No. DP-88
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • October 4, 1989
    ..."avoid questions seeking a promise or commitment from the jury to convict if the State proved certain facts," citing Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920 (Miss.1971). West I, 485 So.2d at Our law allows an attorney for either side to probe the prejudices of the prospective jurors to the end that ......
  • De La Beckwith v. State, Nos. 94-KA-00402-SC
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 22, 1997
    ...prospective jurors for cause, but to give trial counsel clues from which they will exercise peremptory challenges. Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920, 921 (Miss.1971); Atlanta Joint Terminals v. Knight, 98 Ga.App. 482, 106 S.E.2d 417 This is the extent of the rights of litigants in the jury sel......
  • Callen v. State, CR–13–0099
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 28, 2017
    ...trial judge must be given a considerable discretion.’ Harris v. State, 532 So.2d 602, 606 (Miss. 1988) ; 284 So.3d 217 Murphy v. State, 246 So.2d 920, 922 (Miss. 1971). This discretion includes passing upon the extent and propriety of questions addressed to the prospective jurors. Rigby v. ......
  • 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