State v. Arnold

Decision Date02 August 1924
Citation39 Idaho 589,229 P. 748
PartiesSTATE, Respondent, v. NOAH ARNOLD, Appellant
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

MURDER-PLEA OF GUILTY-DETERMINATION OF DEGREE-MURDER OF FIRST DEGREE-DETERMINATION OF PUNISHMENT BY COURT-MALICE-MOTION TO WITHDRAW PLEA OF GUILTY AFTER JUDGMENT - GROUNDS FOR-ADDRESSED TO SOUND DISCRETION OF COURT-ABUSE OF DISCRETION.

1. Information for murder examined and found to state a public offense.

2. Upon a plea of guilty of murder, the court must, before passing sentence, take evidence to determine the degree.

3. Whether death or life imprisonment shall be the punishment for first degree murder is a question addressed to the sound discretion of the jury or court, and the decision will be modified only for abuse of discretion.

4. Held, that the evidence shows malice.

5. Upon a plea of guilty of murder, and a determination by the court that it is murder of the first degree, it is the duty of the court to decide whether the punishment should be death or life imprisonment, and to pronounce judgment accordingly.

6. The district court may, after judgment, grant a motion for leave to withdraw a plea of guilty and substitute a plea of not guilty, when the plea of guilty was not made voluntarily nor with an understanding of defendant's act in so pleading.

7. An order of the district court denying a motion for leave to withdraw a plea of guilty and substitute a plea of not guilty will be reversed only for an abuse of discretion.

8. Showing in support of a motion for leave to withdraw plea of guilty after judgment and substitute plea of not guilty examined, and held to show that appellant entered a plea of guilty voluntarily and not in ignorance of his rights, or because misled by erroneous advice of counsel.

APPEAL from the District Court of the Eighth Judicial District, for Bonner County. Hon. W. F. McNaughton, Judge.

Prosecution for murder. Plea of guilty. Judgment of conviction of murder of first degree, and death sentence. Appeal from that part of judgment which inflicts death penalty and from order denying motion for leave to withdraw plea of guilty and substitute plea of not guilty. Affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

A. T Aronson, Ivan L. Hiler and Morgan & Smith, for Appellant.

The information must contain a statement of the acts constituting the offense, in ordinary and concise language, so that a person of common understanding may know what is intended. It must directly, and not inferentially, accuse the defendant of the commission of these acts, within the jurisdiction of the court at a time prior to the filing of the information. (C S., secs. 8811, 8812, 8825-8827 and 8834; State v Flower, 27 Idaho 223, 147 P. 786; State v. Scheminisky, 31 Idaho 504, 174 P. 611; State v. Cole, 31 Idaho 603, 174 P. 131; People v. Simpton, 133 Cal. 367, 65 P. 834; State v. Nelson, 79 Minn. 388, 82 N.W. 650; Zinn v. State (Tex. Crim.), 151 S.W. 825; Compton v. State, 71 Tex. Crim. 7, 158 S.W. 515; State v. Ellis, 43 Ark. 93; Shanks v. State, 51 Miss. 464; Dukes v. State, 9 Ga.App. 537, 71 S.E. 921; Rose v. Commonwealth, 116 Va. 1023, 82 S.E. 699; State v. Davis (Ind.), 136 N.E. 844; Brooks v. Commonwealth, 98 Ky. 143, 32 S.W. 403; Bennett v. Commonwealth, 150 Ky. 604, 150 S.W. 806; Underwood v. State, 19 Ala. 532; Terre Haute Brewing Co. v. State, 169 Ind. 242, 82 N.E. 84; State v. Metsker, 169 Ind. 555, 83 N.E. 241; Hewitt v. State, 171 Ind. 283, 86 N.E. 63; State v. Beliveau, 114 Me. 477, 96 A. 779; State v. Clarke, 141 Iowa 297, 119 N.W. 719; Flinn v. State, 24 Ind. 286.)

Upon a plea of guilty a court is without jurisdiction, of its own motion, to take testimony tending to show circumstances of mitigation or aggravation. (C. S., sec. 9036.)

Where the evidence shows that the homicide was without premeditation or malice, except that which is presumed by law to exist where a murder has been committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate arson, rape, robbery, burglary or mayhem, it is an abuse of the court's discretion to pronounce the death sentence, even if it be invested with jurisdiction to do so, upon a plea of guilty. (16 C. J. 1271.)

A court is without jurisdiction to pronounce judgment and sentence of death in the absence of a verdict of a jury finding and deciding that the death penalty shall be inflicted. (C. S., sec. 8212.)

Where it appears, upon motion to vacate and set aside a judgment and death sentence and to permit the defendant to withdraw his plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty to a charge of murder, that the defendant has been advised by an attorney, appointed by the court to advise him, that in the event he entered a plea of guilty to an information charging him with murder, the court would be without jurisdiction, or power, to pronounce the death sentence against him but, if he should plead not guilty and be tried by a jury, the result would probably be that he would be convicted and hanged, it is an abuse of the court's discretion to deny said motion. (State v. Raponi, 32 Idaho 368, 182 P. 855; 16 C. J. 397, sec. 730; State v. Nicholas, 46 Mont. 470, 128 P. 543; City of Salina v. Cooper, 45 Kan. 12, 25 P. 233; State v. Coston, 113 La. 717, 37 So. 619; State v. Williams, 45 La. Ann. 1356, 14 So. 32; Krolage v. People, 224 Ill. 456, 8 Ann. Cas. 235, 79 N.E. 570; Deloach v. State, 77 Miss. 691, 27 So. 618; Gauldin v. Crawford, 30 Ga. 674; Dobosky v. State, 183 Ind. 488, 109 N.E. 742; People v. McCrory, 41 Cal. 458; People v. Merhige, 212 Mich. 601, 180 N.W. 418; Pope v. State, 56 Fla. 81, 16 Ann. Cas. 972, 47 So. 487; Bachelor v. State, 189 Ind. 69, 125 N.E. 773; Parker v. State, 189 Ind. 85, 125 N.E. 772; Trkulja v. State, 189 Ind. 700, 125 N.E. 773; Bachelor v. State, 189 Ind. 701, 125 N.E. 778; State v. Dunham, 149 La. 1013, 90 So. 387.)

A. H. Conner, Attorney General, and James L. Boone, Assistant, for Respondent.

A motion addressed to the court to permit an accused to withdraw his plea of guilty is addressed to the sound discretion of the lower court, and will not be disturbed in the absence of a clear abuse of discretion. (State v. Raponi, 32 Idaho 368, 182 P. 855.)

Where the appellant does not present facts which would have warranted the lower court in granting the motion to withdraw the plea of guilty, this court will not interfere. (State v. Raponi, supra; People v. Bostic, 167 Cal. 754, 141 P. 380; People v. Dabner, 153 Cal. 398, 95 P. 880; People v. Miller, 114 Cal. 10, 45 P. 986.)

It is first degree murder where a homicide results during the perpetration or in the attempt to perpetrate a robbery, irrespective of whether the murder was included in the scheme of robbery and planned as a part of the execution of that crime. (People v. Bostic, supra; People v. Milton, 145 Cal. 169, 78 P. 549.)

The lower court has authority on a plea of guilty of murder in the first degree to assess the extreme penalty. (State v. Ramirez, 34 Idaho 623, 203 P. 279; C. S., sec. 8212; Senate Journal, Eleventh Session, p. 226.)

Where a charge is defectively stated in an information and the defendant does not demur and stand upon the defect, but pleads guilty, he cannot be heard to impeach the weakness of the charge. (People v. Nash, 1 Idaho 206.)

All presumptions are in favor of the regularity of the proceedings of courts of record and, in the absence of any showing to establish the fact as to whether or not a court has complied with the requirements of law, the presumption will at once arise that the law has been complied with. (State v. Suttles, 13 Idaho 88, 88 P. 238; State v. Ricks, 34 Idaho 122, 201 P. 827.)

MCCARTHY, C. J. Budge, Dunn and Wm. E. Lee JJ., concur. WILLIAM A. LEE, J., Dissenting.

OPINION

MCCARTHY, C. J.

Upon a plea of guilty appellant was convicted of murder in the first degree and sentenced to death. Thereafter he moved to vacate the judgment and for permission to withdraw his plea of guilty and enter a plea of not guilty, which motion was denied. Appellant appeals from the judgment in so far as it inflicts the death penalty, and from the order denying his motion.

The first specification of error is that the court erred in pronouncing judgment, in that the information does not state facts sufficient to constitute a public offense. Conceding for the purposes of this case, but not expressly holding, that the question may be raised for the first time on appeal, we have examined the information, and concluded it is sufficient. Following the title of court and cause, the material part of it is as follows:

"Mike Donnelly and Noah Arnold, alias Robert Ford, are accused by Allen P. Asher, prosecuting attorney in and for Bonner County, State of Idaho, by this Information of the crime of Murder and that prior to the filing of this information, the said Mike Donnelly and Noah Arnold, alias Robert Ford, on the 7th day of August, 1923, had a preliminary examination before the Honorable Myrvin Davis, Probate Judge in and for the County of Bonner, State of Idaho, and were held to answer to the District Court of the Eighth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for the County of Bonner for the crime of Murder committed as follows, to-wit:

"That the said Mike Donnelly and Noah Arnold, alias Robert Ford, on or about the 16th day of July, A. D. 1923, at the County of Bonner, State of Idaho, then and there did unlawfully, wilfully, wrongfully, feloniously, deliberately, premeditatedly, and with malice aforethought, kill and murder one Wm. Crisp, a human Being.

"All of which is contrary to the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the State of Idaho. . . ."

Appellant invokes C. S., secs. 8811, 8812, 8825-8827 and 8834, which provide in effect that the information must contain a direct and certain...

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