Rounds v. State

Decision Date22 December 1885
Citation2 A. 673,78 Me. 42
CourtMaine Supreme Court

H. D. Hadlock, for plaintiff.

Orville D. Baker, Atty. Gen., for the State.

PETERS, C. J. In this writ an error assigned is that the counts upon which judgment was rendered cannot stand, because they allege that the forger's intent was to defraud Frank E. Snow. The forged order was in Snow's name, as maker, and of the following tenor:

"WestScarboro, January 19, 1882.

" To the Treasurer of the Maine Savings Bank: Pay to Samuel Rounds the full amount of deposit, and interest, on my account.

"FrankE. Snow."

It is contended that the counts should have alleged that the forger intended to defraud the bank, or some person other than Snow; and that there is an impropriety in alleging an intent to defraud Snow, because such a thing is an impossibility. We think otherwise. It would not be unnatural to suppose that the intention of the forger (Rounds) was to defraud Snow, even if another purpose was coupled with it. If we recollect aright, defense upon the trial of the indictment was not that Snow signed the order with his own hand, but that Rounds signed it with the consent of Snow. Endeavoring to substantiate such an agency, when none existed, certainly makes it evident that the prime and particular intent was to defraud Snow.

In most cases of forging commercial paper perhaps the most obvious intent is to defraud some party upon whom the paper is passed. But may not circumstances exist in any case, rendering it possible that the purpose was to injure the person whose name is forged? Does not the forger oftentimes intend to succeed in establishing the feigned as a real signature? Are not deeds and wills falsely made with the idea that the papers will be effectual for the purposes intended by the fabricators? Are not forgeries sometimes so artfully executed that the persons whose names are simulated are sufferers from the act? It is certainly not an extreme idea to say that, in all cases of forging, there is in the mind of the perpetrator of the crime an expectation—often, of course, not of any very definite character—that he is inflicting an injury upon the person whose name is wrongfully used. The criminal must be aware that such person may be in some peril of loss, and that he will be put to some expense or trouble to protect himself against the forgery.

The plaintiff in error supports his position with no authorities which are pertinent to the point. The authority of the cases and of the book writers is the other way. Mr. Bishop says that the law presumes that the forger intended to defraud the person whose name is forged, and that the indictment may lay the intent accordingly, whatever the real fact may be. He further says of the forger: "He meant also to defraud the person to whom he passed, or attempted to pass, the forged writing for value; and the pleader may so lay the intent, if he pleases." 2 Bish. Grim. Proc. § 422. The doctrine is well supported by the cases cited by Mr. Bishop in the notes to his text. Other writers on criminal law are fully in accord with him. The old common law assumed that the person whose name was forged was interested in procuring a conviction, and he could not be a witness against the forger. Some American cases have followed the foreign precedents in this respect. See 2...

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2 cases
  • Bennett v. State
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court
    • July 8, 1896
    ... ... Henry , 118 Mass. 460; State v ... Kimball , 50 Me. 409. "Where the intent alleged ... is to defraud the person whose name is forged, it should be ... presumed from the forgery, without further proof." 2 ... Bishop, Cr. Pro., sec. 427; Henderson v ... State , 14 Tex. 503; Rounds v ... State , 78 Me. 42, 2 A. 673 ...          The ... deed in this case, as appears from the evidence, was forged ... with an evil intent, was designed and intended to be used as ... good, and as material evidence on the trial of Watkins upon a ... criminal charge, and was so ... ...
  • Portland & R. R. R v. Inhabitants of Deering
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1885
    ... ... an amendment of the company's charter, accepted by them, it was provided that "the company shall be subject to the general laws existing in the state, or which may be hereafter passed by the state." Priv. Laws 1853, c. 180, (Webb, R. R. Laws Me. 497.) See Const. Me. art. 4, p. 3, § 14. One of ... ...

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