State v. Clouser

Decision Date30 June 1887
Citation72 Iowa 302,33 N.W. 686
CourtIowa Supreme Court


Appeal from district court, Mills county.

The defendant was convicted of the murder of William Doran, and sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary at hard labor for life.Stone & Gilliland and E. Starbuck, for defendant.

A. J. Baker, Atty. Gen., for the State.


This cause has once before been in this court. See State v. Clouser, 69 Iowa, 313, 28 N. W. Rep. 615. The evidence relied on by the state in the former trial to establish the guilt of the defendant is quite fully set out in the opinion in the former appeal, and a restatement of it is not deemed necessary at this time.

1. The opinion reversing the former judgment pronounced against the defendant was filed on the twenty-second of June, 1886, and procedendo in the usual form was issued soon afterwards. The cause was retried in September following. Counsel for the defendant filed a motion in arrest of judgment on the grounds (1) that the cause had not been remanded by this court for a new trial, and consequently the district court did not have jurisdiction to again put the defendant upon trial; and (2) that the holding of this court, as shown by the opinion, was that the evidence given upon the former trial was insufficient to warrant a verdict of guilty against the defendant, and that such holding was equivalent to an acquittal, and consequently the only action which the district court could take in the cause was to enter an order discharging the defendant. The procedendo advised the district court of the reversal of the judgment, and directed it to proceed in the case in the manner required by law, and in harmony with the opinion of this court. The holding of the opinion in effect is that defendant was entitled to a new trial because of the errors occurring on the previous trial, which are specifically pointed out in the opinion. No other order remanding the cause was necessary; nor is it usual, in like cases, to make any order remanding the cause except that contained in the procedendo. The cause was therefore properly before the district court for trial.

The second ground of the motion is based upon a misapprehension of the holding of this court on the former appeal. We did not hold, nor did we intend to hold, that the evidence, including that of the accomplice McCrary, was not sufficient to warrant the verdict. That witness testified upon both trials that the killing of Doran was committed in pursuance of a conspiracy entered into by himself, the defendant, and another person, and that defendant was present at the killing, and fired the fatal shot. If his story is true, defendant is guilty beyond question; but whether credit should be given to it was a question for the jury, and we have no intention of invading their province. But the district court had submitted to the jury the question whether, disregarding his testimony, the guilt of the defendant was established by the other evidence in the case; and we were of the opinion that there was no sufficient evidence, aside from that of McCrary, to warrant the submission of...

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