State v. Goodnow

Decision Date11 February 1919
Docket NumberNo. 4442.,4442.
Citation41 S.D. 391,170 N.W. 661
CourtSouth Dakota Supreme Court


Appeal from Circuit Court, Sanborn County; Frank B. Smith, Judge.

Harry Goodnow was convicted of incest, and he appeals. Reversed.Null & Royhl, of Huron, and T. J. Spangler, of Mitchell, for appellant.

Clarence C. Caldwell, Atty. Gen., and L. L. Lawson, State's Atty., of Woonsocket, for the State.


Appellant was tried upon an information charging him with the crime of incest, and from a judgment of conviction he appeals to this court.

A number of the assignments relate to certain conduct of the prosecution and rulings of the trial court, preliminary to the trial. Some of these assignments present matters that cannot occur on another trial, and others are not likely to arise again, and, as the judgment must be reversed on other grounds, these assignments need not be further noticed.

[1] The appellant is a widower with seven children. The oldest of these is a girl who at the time of the trial was 17 years old, and it was with her that the alleged crime is charged to have been committed. At about the time of the arrest of the appellant, all of his children, including the prosecutrix, were committed to the custody of the sheriff, to be held as witnesses at the trial. Shortly thereafter, appellant sent to the prosecutrix a suit case containing certain articles, among others a catheter and a bottle containing liquid of some kind, though what kind of liquid does not seem to have been disclosed. Without anything to show the purpose of sending the catheter, it was introduced in evidence. The prosecutrix had testified that she was pregnant at that time, and it was assumed by the prosecution that the catheter was sent to her by defendant to be used to produce an abortion. Appellant, when upon the witness stand, admitted that he had placed the catheter in the suit case, and his counsel asked him why he had sent it. This question was objected to on the ground that it called for the conclusion of the witness. The objection was sustained and error is assigned. Appellant should have been allowed to answer this question. If there had been evidence to show that a catheter is an instrument that can be used for no other purpose than to produce an abortion, or if it were an instrument known to have no other use, a different question would be presented. But there is no such evidence, and we know, as a matter of common knowledge, that it is susceptible of other and legitimate uses. The purpose of its introduction was to show guilty intent on the part of appellant, and he should have been given the same opportunity to rebut or to break the effect of such evidence as any other, and should have been given an opportunity to explain his purpose if he could. He might have been able to show that it was sent for a perfectly legitimate purpose.

[2][3] The defendant requested the court to charge the jury:

“That if they find that any witness has knowingly testified falsely in any important matter in the trial of this case, the jury are at liberty to disregard the entire testimony of such witness, except where such witness is corroborated by other competent evidence.”

The request was refused and error is assigned. This instruction is peculiarly appropriate in this case, and the refusal to give it constituted reversible error. Some of the testimony of the prosecutrix, improbable at best, was flatly contradicted by the testimony of other witnesses for the state, and all her testimony...

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9 cases
  • State v. Cady, 15769
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • April 20, 1988
    ...that she was competent to testify. The jury was appropriately allowed to assess her credibility. Defendant cites State v. Goodnow, 41 S.D. 391, 170 N.W. 661 (1919); 22A C.J.S. Criminal Law Sec. 600 (1961), and argues that child's testimony was irrelevant because it did not relate to the off......
  • State v. Wilcox
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1925
    ...the ground of mistake or lack of memory, and that it was error to refuse the requested instruction. Under the rule announced in State v. Goodnow, 170 N.W. 661, this instruction should have been given. And what is said in Bank v. Bailey, 195 N.W. 37, is especially applicable to such instruct......
  • State v. Cooley
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • July 11, 1923 give the nineteenth requested instruction to the jury in accordance with the maxim “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.” State v. Goodnow, 41 S. D. 391, 170 N. W. 661. It is a serious question whether the trial court did not err to the prejudice of defendant in giving the instruction with ......
  • Cox v. General Motors Accep. Corp.
    • United States
    • South Dakota Supreme Court
    • March 22, 1932
    ...Hurlbut v. Leper (1900) 81 N.W. 631; State v. Raice (1909) 123 N.W. 708; Richardson v. Gage (1911) Ann. Cas. 1914B 534; State v. Goodnow (1919) 170 N.W. 661; Citizens’ Bank v. Bailey (1923) 195 N.W. 37; State v. Eston (1924) 198 N.W. 826; State v. Wilcox (1925) 204 N.W. 369; State v. Staley......
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