State v. Ashley

Citation123 S.E. 260
Decision Date09 June 1924
Docket Number(No. 11527.)
PartiesSTATE. v. ASHLEY.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina

123 S.E. 260


(No. 11527.)

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

June 9, 1924.

Appeal from General Sessions Circuit Court of Abbeville County; J. Henry Johnson, Judge.

Floyd Ashley was convicted of violating the Prohibition Law, and he appeals. Reversed, and a new trial ordered.

Moore & Cox, of Abbeville, for appellant.

Solicitor H. S. Blackwell, of Laurens, for respondent.

MARION, J. The defendant, Floyd Ashley, was convicted of a violation of the Prohibition Law. From a sentence of 12 months' imprisonment, he appeals upon exceptions which assign error in the refusal of the trial judge to grant a new trial upon the grounds: (1) That there was no evidence to sustain the verdict, and (2) That in the presence and hearing of the petit jury charged with the trial of the case at bar the solicitor was permitted to read the caption of a similar indictment against the defendant to swear a witness to go before the grand jury on that charge.

We think appellant's second exception, directed to the matter of reading the caption of another indictment on the same or a similar charge and swearing a witness thereon for the grand jury in the presence and hearing of the petit jury charged with the trial of the cause then in progress, has sufficient merit to require a reversal.

On the cross-examination of the defendant by the solicitor, the record discloses that the matter of another indictment against the defendant on a similar charge arose and was ruled on in this way:

"Q. These officers who have served under Cooper and McLeod went up there and trumped up a case against you? You never handled any whisky? A. No, sir.

"Q. They still got it in for you, because they got another indictment against you. * * * (Mr. Moore objects.)

"Court: The objection is sustained. His credibility is put to issue, but not his character."

Thereafter, during the progress of the trial, the indictment thus referred to and the fact of the pendency of which had been properly excluded by the court in the submission of the evidence, was handled by the swearing of a witness thereon for the grand jury in the presence of the petit jury trying the case at bar. It appears that the grand jury returned "no bill" on this indictment, but it does not appear that such return was made in the presence of this petit jury. There can be no doubt that the effect was to get before the trial jury the very fact which had been excluded as admissible evidence. While the matter of reading the caption of this second...

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