State v. Clemenson

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtLADD, J.
Citation99 N.W. 139,123 Iowa 524
PartiesSTATE OF IOWA v. WILLIAM CLEMENSON, Appellant
Decision Date11 April 1904

99 N.W. 139

123 Iowa 524

STATE OF IOWA
v.
WILLIAM CLEMENSON, Appellant

Supreme Court of Iowa, Des Moines

April 11, 1904


Appeal from Hancock District Court.--HON. CLIFFORD P. SMITH, Judge.

THE defendant, with two others, was indicted for the crime of having entered into a conspiracy to commit adultery. From judgment of conviction, he appeals.

Reversed.

Wesley Aldridge and Jno. A. Senneff for appellant.

John Hammill for the State.

OPINION

[123 Iowa 525] LADD, J.

The appellant contends there is no such crime as conspiracy to commit adultery. The statute provides that "if any two or more persons conspire or confederate together with the fraudulent or malicious intent, wrongfully to injure the person, character, business, property or rights in property of another, or to do any illegal act injurious to the public trade, health, morals or police, or to the administration of public justice, or to commit any felony, they are guilty of a conspiracy and every such offender and every person who is convicted of a conspiracy at common law shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not more than three years." Section 5059, Code. As adultery may be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary, it is a felony. Section 5093, Code. And, contrary to appellant's suggestion, it is an offense against the state as well as against the innocent spouse. State v. Corliss, 85 Iowa 18, 51 N.W. 1154; State v. Smith, 108 Iowa 440, 79 N.W. 115. The requirement that the prosecution must be commenced on the complaint of the husband or wife pertains to the procedure only. Such complaint is not an element of the offense. State v. Donovan, 61 Iowa 278, 16 N.W. 130; State v. Maas, 83 Iowa 469, 49 N.W. 1037. That it has not been made may operate to withhold authority to prosecute or punish, but this does not affect the question of the actual guilt of the offending party. Nor is the consent of the female essential to constitute the crime. State v. Sanders, 30 Iowa 582; State v. Donovan, supra; State v. Savoye, 48 Iowa 562; State v. Grant, 86 Iowa 216, 53 N.W. 120. As adultery is a felony, then, and may [123 Iowa 526] be committed without the consent of the female, and regardless of whether any prosecution is commenced, there is no ground for saying that the offense may not be the subject of conspiracy. This case is readily distinguishable from Shannon v. Com., 14 Pa. 226 and Miles v. State, 58 Ala. 390. In those decisions the agreement of a married woman to have intercourse with a man other than her husband was held not to amount to a conspiracy to commit adultery, for that the consent involved was a part of the offense itself. One may aid and abet in adultery without actually participating in the act. State v. Henderson, 84 Iowa 161, 50 N.W. 758. And we can discover no ground for saying that a combination to commit the unlawful act, not an agreement between the immediate parties to the intended crime, may not constitute a conspiracy.

II. The indictment did not allege that the defendant had knowledge that Helen E. Brown was a married woman, nor do we regard this as essential. The gist of the offense is the wicked and unlawful agreement. State v. Savoye, 48 Iowa 562; State v. Grant, 86 Iowa 216, 53 N.W. 120. And where this is to perpetrate a crime known to the common law, or defined by the statute in unmistakable terms, all that is necessary...

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9 practice notes
  • State v. Thompson, 47293.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 15, 1949
    ...the crime of conspiracy is the unlawful agreement or combination and does not depend upon the fulfillment of the act. State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139; State v. Savoye, 48 [241 Iowa 23] Iowa 562 . It may be established by either direct or circumstantial evidence. State v. Carls......
  • State v. Law
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 2, 1920
    ...the class designated are adultery, bigamy, incest, and dueling. An implied recognition of this rule is contained in State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139. Agreements between a victim and another person to produce an abortion, and for the transportation of a female from one state to ......
  • State v. Martin, 36092
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 17, 1924
    ...1897. Under this statute, we have held that two or more persons may be found guilty of conspiracy to commit adultery (State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139); likewise, a conspiracy to commit lewdness (State v. Mitchell, 149 Iowa 362, 128 N.W. 378). It is true that Fry, being an unma......
  • State v. Blackledge, 40979
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 24, 1932
    ...that the gist of the offense of conspiracy is the unlawful combination and agreement. State v. Savoye, 48 Iowa 562; State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139; State v. Madden, 170 Iowa 230, 148 N.W. 995; State v. Terry, 207 Iowa 916, 223 N.W. 870. It must be conceded that the indictment......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. Thompson, 47293.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 15, 1949
    ...the crime of conspiracy is the unlawful agreement or combination and does not depend upon the fulfillment of the act. State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139; State v. Savoye, 48 [241 Iowa 23] Iowa 562 . It may be established by either direct or circumstantial evidence. State v. Carls......
  • State v. Law
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 2, 1920
    ...the class designated are adultery, bigamy, incest, and dueling. An implied recognition of this rule is contained in State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139. Agreements between a victim and another person to produce an abortion, and for the transportation of a female from one state to ......
  • State v. Martin, 36092
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 17, 1924
    ...1897. Under this statute, we have held that two or more persons may be found guilty of conspiracy to commit adultery (State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139); likewise, a conspiracy to commit lewdness (State v. Mitchell, 149 Iowa 362, 128 N.W. 378). It is true that Fry, being an unma......
  • State v. Blackledge, 40979
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 24, 1932
    ...that the gist of the offense of conspiracy is the unlawful combination and agreement. State v. Savoye, 48 Iowa 562; State v. Clemenson, 123 Iowa 524, 99 N.W. 139; State v. Madden, 170 Iowa 230, 148 N.W. 995; State v. Terry, 207 Iowa 916, 223 N.W. 870. It must be conceded that the indictment......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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