Neal v. State

Decision Date26 June 1952
Docket Number4 Div. 683
Citation257 Ala. 496,59 So.2d 797
PartiesNEAL v. STATE.
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

H. K. & J. F. Martin, Dothan, for appellant.

Si Garrett, Atty. Gen., and Robt. Straub, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

STAKELY, Justice.

T. C. Neal, the appellant, was indicted for the offense of murder in the first degree. Trial was had upon a plea of not guilty. The jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree and fixed the punishment at death. The appeal comes here from the judgment of the court under the automatic appeals act.

The killing took place in a Negro cafe in the presence of a number of witnesses. The evidence is in conflict as to whether the appellant fired the gun intentionally or whether the gun struck the door facing of the cafe and went off accidentally. A number of people in the cafe were hit by the shot but the deceased, Roy Lee Yarbrough, was the only one killed. Tendencies of the evidence showed that the appellant was cursing and antagonistic toward all the occupants of the cafe prior to the shooting.

The pivotal question in this case centers around the action of the trial court subsequent to the retirement of the jury to consider the verdict. After the jury had retired they sent the bailiff to the judge stating that they wanted to ask a question. It is agreed by the state and the defendant, as shown by the record, that 'Thereupon the Judge caused the official court reporter, the Clerk of the Court, Mr. J. Robert Ramsey, attorney for the defendant, and Mr. Baxley, the Solicitor representing the State, to accompany him inside the door of the jury room, the defendant not being present inside the said jury room.' According to the record the following then took place:

'A Juror: Judge, what we want to know is, can we fix it so that if we give him life imprisonment and recommend that there be no parole?

'The Court: That is up to the Pardon and Parole Board. Neither you nor I can bind The Pardon and Parole Board. We don't have any control over them.

'A Juror: That is all we want to know, Judge. I had that come up once before but I wanted to hear you say it.'

The action of the court in charging the jury as aforesaid in the jury room is one of the grounds upon which a motion to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial is based. The court overruled the motion.

It is settled that the continuous presence of the defendant from arraignment to sentence is an essential part of the process provided for the trial of the defendant and without which the court has no jurisdiction to pronounce judgment against him. This principle was applied by the Court of Appeals in Chaney v. State, 56 So.2d 385, 386, where in reversing the judgment of conviction the court said: 'However the record shows that, instead of having the jury returned to the courtroom, the judge, court reporter, solicitor, and defendant's counsel went into the jury room where the court instructed the jury further.' See Lee v. State, 31 Ala.App. 91, 13...

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26 cases
  • Gaddy v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • May 26, 1995
    ...While it is true that a capital defendant's right to be present at all stages of the trial cannot be waived, Neal v. State, 257 Ala. 496, 59 So.2d 797, 798 (1952), these hearings were not encompassed within the appellant's trial. In Wade v. State, 349 So.2d 141, 148 (Ala.Cr.App.1977), this ......
  • Duncan v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • March 18, 2005
    ...representation are clear violations of Mr. Duncan's constitutional rights. See Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337, 338 (1970); Neal v. State, 59 So.2d 797 (Ala.1952)." (C.R. In its order dismissing the petition, the circuit court found as follows: "Duncan has provided the Court with no facts c......
  • Quinn v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • May 14, 1957
    ...that whatever validity there might be in the Pate case has been essentially modified by the Supreme Court's doctrine in Neal v. State, 257 Ala. 496, 59 So.2d 797. As to the merits of the defendant's contention, we hold that the trial court was not in error as to the insanity aspect in refus......
  • Ex parte DeBruce
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • September 16, 1994
    ...the United States Constitution; Article I, § 6, Alabama Constitution of 1901; Ex parte Bryan, 44 Ala. 402 (1870). Under Neal v. State, 257 Ala. 496, 59 So.2d 797 (1952), the continuous presence of the defendant from arraignment to sentencing is an essential part of the process provided for ......
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