Smith v. State

Citation77 S.W.2d 450,168 Tenn. 265
PartiesSMITH v. STATE.
Decision Date12 January 1935
CourtTennessee Supreme Court

Appeal in Error from Criminal Court, Pickett County; O. K. Holliday Judge.

Baalam Smith was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and he appeals in error.

Reversed and defendant discharged.

Ben E Groce and George C. Bertram, both of Byrdstown, for plaintiff in error.

Nat Tipton, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.


The plaintiff in error, Baalam Smith, has appealed from a conviction of voluntary manslaughter.

The homicide charged in the indictment was committed on January 1, 1919. The indictment was returned in 1933. To this indictment Smith pleaded in abatement that a former indictment, returned at the January term, 1919, charged him with the same offense; that he had not been required to plead to the former indictment, although he had been within the jurisdiction of the court for twelve years following its return.

During the twelve years referred to in the plea, Smith was confined in the penitentiary for a homicide committed at the same time with that charged in this case.

The defendant invokes the constitutional direction that in all criminal prosecutions the accused is entitled to a speedy trial. Constitution of Tennessee, article 1, § 9.

Under the ruling in Arrowsmith v. State, 131 Tenn. 480 175 S.W. 545, L. R. A. 1915E, 363, the state could not have required the plaintiff in error to respond to the former indictment after holding him in custody for twelve years on another charge, during which period it made no effort to bring him to trial on the second charge.

The state submits that this bar is limited to the indictment pending during the period of delay, and does not extend to a new indictment returned thereafter. In support of its position it points out that the Legislature, interpreting the Constitution, has prescribed no limitation of time on prosecutions for capital offenses. Code, § 11481.

To sustain this contention of the state would be to observe the form of the constitutional direction and deny its substance.

The second indictment was a continuation of the prosecution begun by the first. Hickey v. State, 131 Tenn. 112, 174 S.W. 269. Both indictments charged the same offense. The constitutional right which had accrued as a bar to the further prosecution of the first indictment would be defeated by evasion, if the state could avoid the consequences of its...

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1 cases
  • Hottle v. District Court in and for Clinton County
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • September 21, 1943
    ... ... No. 46289.Supreme Court of IowaSeptember 21, 1943 [11 N.W.2d 31] ...          [233 ... Iowa 905] Smith, Swift & Maloney and G. W. Vander Vennet, ... all of Davenport, for petitioner ...         John ... M. Rankin, Atty. Gen., Don Hise, ... the next regular term of court even though it is shown that ... the defendant has been, since said indictment, and is now, in ... the state penitentiary serving a sentence for another crime? ... The trial court held it should not and overruled the motions ... to dismiss the indictments ... ...

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