State v. Armijo.

Citation25 N.M. 666,187 P. 553
Decision Date02 February 1920
Docket NumberNo. 2442.,2442.
PartiesSTATEv.ARMIJO.
CourtSupreme Court of New Mexico

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Syllabus by the Court.

In this jurisdiction no corroboration of a prosecutrix for rape, by way of testimony of an independent character emanating from an outside source, is required in order to sustain a conviction. But the bald charge of a woman against a man in this regard, unsupported and uncorroborated by facts and circumstances pointing to the guilt of the accused, is insufficient to meet the requirement of the law that a verdict must be supported by substantial evidence.

Appeal from District Court, San Miguel County; Leahy, Judge.

Claudio Armijo was convicted of statutory rape, his sentence was suspended during good behavior, and on his payment into court of a certain sum, he appeals. Reversed and cause remanded, with directions to award a new trial.

In this jurisdiction no corroboration of a prosecutrix for rape, by way of testimony of an independent character emanating from an outside source, is required in order to sustain a conviction. But the bald charge of a woman against a man in this regard, unsupported and uncorroborated by facts and circumstances pointing to the guilt of the accused is insufficient to meet the requirement of the law that a verdict must be supported by substantial evidence.

Chas. W. G. Ward, of Laws Vegas, for appellant.

Nicholas D. Meyer, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

PARKER, C. J.

The appellant was convicted of statutory rape under section 1493, Code 1915, as amended by chapter 51, Laws 1915, which makes it a felony to have sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 16 years. The court sentenced the defendant to imprisonment in the penitentiary for 5 years, the minimum penalty provided by the statute, but entered an order, suspending the sentence during good behavior, and upon condition that the defendant pay into the register of the court $15 per month for the support of the child. The defendant thereupon appealed to this court.

The prosecutrix testified that the act was committed on the 15th day of November, 1917, and that it was committed against her consent and notwithstanding her physical resistance. A child was born as the result of such alleged intercourse on June 28, 1918. The prosecutrix never mentioned the occurrence, nor did she make any complaint to any one until in May, 1918, she told Mrs. Apolonio Sena, her mother, and Apolonio Sena, at Mr. Sena's house, when she was confronted with an inquiry from Mrs. Sena as to what was the matter with her; she then being in a condition to show that she was pregnant. She was born June 16, 1903, and was consequently about 14 1/2 years of age at the time of the alleged commission of the offense. She testified that she never had intercourse with the defendant but once, and never before or after with any other person. She testified that at the time of the occurrence she worked for a Mrs. William Booth for about a month, and continued her service for about one week after the occurrence.

Her father, Luis Vigil, testified that the girl went to work for Mrs. Booth on the 15th of November, but did not go back to work at that place any more, thus contradicting the testimony of the prosecutrix. Upon cross-examination, he stated that the reason the girl did not go back to work for Mrs. Booth was because he, the father, did not want her to. When pressed for some reason why he did not want her to go back to work, he could not give one further than to say that he simply did not want her to go.

Luisa Bacay Vigil, mother of the girl, testified that the child was born on June 28, 1918, and that the girl shortly after the 15th of November told her what had happened to her. This was flatly denied by the prosecutrix. The mother testified that the girl told her that “that boy had forced her, and that he had promised to marry her.” She also described with some detail the circumstances surrounding the alleged accomplishment of the act.

At the close of the state's case, the defendant moved for an instructed verdict upon the ground that there was no corroboration of the prosecutrix's charges, which motion was denied.

For the defense Mrs. William Booth, sister of the defendant, testified that the girl worked for her on July 4, 1917, and did not return to work until the following March, in 1918. She testified positively that the girl did not work at her house in November, 1917.

William Booth, brother-in-law of the defendant, testified that the girl did not work at his house in November, 1917, that she was there on July 4, 1917, looking after the children while he and his wife went to the Cowboys' Reunion parade. He said that on March 19, 1918, she commenced to work again for his wife, and worked four or five days. They had sent for her sister, but her people had sent her. He testified that he paid the bills, and could not afford to keep a girl unless the same was absolutely necessary, and that he knew positively that the girl did not work at his house in November, 1917.

The defendant testified in his own behalf, and stated that the girl worked at his sister's house in July,...

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19 cases
  • State v. Seaton
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • August 23, 1974
    ...relies upon the following language appearing in State v. Taylor, supra, most of which was quoted from the opinion in State v. Armijo, 25 N.M. 666, 187 P. 553 (1920): '* * * (T)here was not 'a single unequivocal fact, established by a single witness, shown by his examination to be fair and w......
  • Ewing v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • December 1, 1942
    ...Va. 898, 194 S.E. 719; State v. Shults, 1938, 43 N.M. 71, 85 P.2d 591; State v. Ellison, 1914, 19 N.M. 428, 144 P. 10; State v. Armijo, 1920, 25 N.M. 666, 187 P. 553; Mares v. Territory, 1901, 10 N.M. 770, 65 P. 165, go to the necessity of corroboration and the insufficiency of the particul......
  • State v. Carrillo
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • December 11, 1970
    ...P.2d 224 (1944); State v. Taylor, 32 N.M. 163, 252 P. 984 (1927); State v. Clevenger, 27 N.M. 466, 202 P. 687 (1921); State v. Armijo, 25 N.M. 666, 187 P. 553 (1920); Mares v. Territory, 10 N.M. 770, 65 P. 165 Without trying to detail all the corroborating evidence and circumstances, we cal......
  • State v. NUTTALL, 5016
    • United States
    • New Mexico Supreme Court
    • June 11, 1947
    ...in this court of the question of the sufficiency of the evidence. SeeState v. Garcia, 19 N.M. 414, 143 P. 1012; State v. Armijo, 25 N.M. 666, 187 P. 553; State v. Taylor, 32 N.M. 163, 252 P. 984; State v. Berry, 36 N.M. 318, 14 P.2d 434. We are not convinced, however, that the circumstances......
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