State v. Barr

Citation98 N.W. 595,123 Iowa 139
Decision Date17 February 1904
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa

Appeal from Delaware District Court.--HON. A. S. BLAIR, Judge.

DEFENDANT appeals from a sentence for the crime of obtaining money under false pretenses, of which he was found guilty, as the result of a trial on an indictment for that offense.


Hugh Clemans and J. B. Powers for appellant.

Chas W. Mullan, Attorney General, and Chas. A. Van Vleck Assistant Attorney General for the State.



The evidence tended to show a fraudulent transaction by which defendant secured the loan of $ 150 from Mrs. Martha Arbuckle by alleged false and fraudulent representations as to his financial standing and his ownership of property. It appears that, pending negotiations for settlement of a civil suit involving the same transaction, the criminal prosecution was postponed until the court was ready to adjourn for the term, and that then, on the failure of the defendant to carry out the terms of the settlement of the civil suit, the criminal prosecution was brought on for trial. On the morning of the day fixed for trial, defendant failed to appear; and the proceedings of the court were delayed until late in the afternoon, before the attendance of defendant could be secured. At this time the attorney who had represented defendant both in the civil suit and in the criminal prosecution asked leave to withdraw his appearance in the criminal case on the ground that defendant had failed to carry out the settlement arranged for in the civil case. The court allowed the attorney to thus withdraw from the criminal case, and asked defendant whom he would have to defend him. Defendant designated an attorney then present, but this attorney refused to act. Thereupon the court appointed another attorney, who had no knowledge of the case whatever, and who was not present. The attorney thus appointed was sent for, and, on his appearance, stated his lack of familiarity with the case, and asked that the trial be postponed until the next day; but, at the suggestion of the court, the trial proceeded at once, and some of the witnesses for the prosecution were examined before the adjournment of the court for the day. No subpoena for defendant's witnesses had been issued, and late that evening such a subpoena was put into the hands of the sheriff, in which Eliza Barr, the mother of the defendant, was named as one of the witnesses to be called. The subpoena was returned as served on all the witnesses named, but when Eliza Barr was called to testify it appeared that she was not present, and that the subpoena had not been served upon her. There is no evidence that the failure of Eliza Barr to attend as a witness was due to any fault or collusion on the part of defendant. There was no motion for a continuance on this ground, however; and it may, perhaps, be said that no error of law was committed in proceeding with the case in the absence of the witness Eliza Barr. But as some transactions involving her conveyance of certain property were testified to, her presence may well have been very material to the defendant.

The court admitted the testimony of various witnesses as to matters which were not relevant to the issue. For instance the constable who arrested the defendant testified as to a statement made by him, without anything appearing to show that such statement could have been properly considered as an admission of guilt, and yet the statement was one calculated to prejudice the defendant in the eyes of the jury. Other witnesses were allowed to testify as to a mortgage of Eliza Barr to one Robinson, although it does not appear from the record that such mortgage had any bearing on the question of defendant's guilt. A witness who was examined for defendant was asked on cross-examination whether he had been indicted with defendant for a conspiracy to obtain Mrs. Arbuckle's property, and was required to answer as to having been indicted and arrested on that charge. A witness for the state was allowed to testify in rebuttal as to a conversation with a witness for the defendant in which the latter stated certain facts having a material bearing on the case, and it does not appear that this evidence was by way of proper impeachment. Another witness testified in rebuttal for the prosecution as to certain erasures and changes in a conveyance by Eliza Barr to certain property, although there is no evidence whatever that defendant had any connection with, or was in any way responsible for, the alteration of the conveyance. All of these items of evidence were allowed over objections made by counsel for defendant, but the objections were too general in terms to call for a ruling on any specific proposition. We are inclined to agree with the Attorney General that the rulings were not technically...

To continue reading

Request your trial
27 cases
  • State v. Crawford
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 18 Marzo 2022
    ..."complaint that the verdict is contrary to and not supported by the evidence and the result of passion and prejudice"); State v. Barr , 123 Iowa 139, 98 N.W. 595, 596–97 (1904) (holding the court had a duty to examine the record in a criminal case and render judgment as the law demands "eve......
  • State v. Crawford
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 18 Marzo 2022
    ...the "complaint that the verdict is contrary to and not supported by the evidence and the result of passion and prejudice"); State v. Barr, 98 N.W. 595, 596-97 (Iowa 1904) (holding the court had a duty to examine the record in a criminal case and render judgment as the law demands "even thou......
  • Miller v. People
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Colorado
    • 3 Abril 1933
    ......I have business to go in. there, have reasons to think that that would be a good. inconspicuous place.' That was the state of the record. when, on redirect examination, the district attorney asked. the following questions and the sheriff gave the following. answers:. ... though no specific error of law in the ruling of the court. has been properly preserved.' State v. Barr, 123. Iowa 139, 142, 98 N.W. 595, 596. I believe our rule 35 ought. to be applied in this case, where a young man in his early. twenties, without ......
  • State v. Anderson, 47302.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 5 Agosto 1949
    ...a fair trial principally because of other claimed errors in the instructions to the jury. We have reversed convictions in State v. Barr, 123 Iowa 139, 98 N.W. 595;State v. Burns, 181 Iowa 1098, 165 N.W. 346, and perhaps some other decisions where errors, though not properly preserved, were ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT