State v. Hatch

Decision Date12 April 1971
Docket NumberNo. 346--I,346--I
Citation483 P.2d 864,4 Wn.App. 691
CourtWashington Court of Appeals
PartiesThe STATE of Washington, Respondent, v. Marvin HATCH, Appellant.

McIntosh & Simmons, Philip McIntosh, Seattle, for appellant.

Robert E. Schillberg, Snohomish County Pros. Atty., Terrance H. Neal, Deputy Pros. Atty., Everett, for respondent.

JAMES, Judge.

Marvin Hatch was convicted of that variety of larceny generally described as 'receiving stolen property.' 1 Hatch testified that he was a shingle broker and a manufacturer of red cedar shims. The information charged that Hatch, with intent to deprive the owner thereof, 'did * * * receive or aid in concealing and withholding * * *' seven squares of 24-inch cedar shakes and 141 bundles of 16-inch cedar shakes which he knew to have been wrongfully appropriated.

The shakes had been stolen from a shingle mill, and some of them were, on the following day, traced to Hatch's place of business. Hatch told the arresting officer what he had bought the shakes from a man whose name he could not remember. This was also his testimony at trial.

Investigating officers made plaster casts of tire impressions found at the victimized shingle mill. Plaster casts of similar inpressions, identified as having been made by Hatch's truck, were likewise preserved. Both were admitted as exhibits.

Hatch offered as an exhibit a print of a tire track produced, he said, by driving his truck over carbon paper. The impressions preserved by the state had been made some 14 months earlier.

The state objected to Hatch's exhibit on the ground that it was the product of an experiment and that physical considerations made a meaningful comparison impossible. The exhibit was refused. Hatch assigns error.

The admissibility of experimental evidence must be judged on the basis of its quality. Is the evidence calculated to clarify or will it more likely confuse? This is a consideration which must be resolved by the trial judge. Necessarily, a large measure of discretionary judgment is involved. Unless a trial judge has manifestly abused his discretionary power, his determination will not be overruled by an appellate court.

As in the early case of Lasityr v. Olympia, 61 Wash. 651, 657, 112 P. 752, 755 (1911), 'we are not prepared to say that it would have been error to admit * * *' the exhibit. However, the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in rejecting the offer. Goodner v. Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pac. RR, 61 Wash.2d 12, 377 P.2d 231 (1962).

It was discovered that another manufacturer's label had been affixed to some of the bundles of shakes traced to Hatch. Evidence was admitted that Hatch had sold shakes and shingles similarly mislabeled.

Relying upon the well-established rule that admission of evidence tending to prove an unrelated crime is grossly prejudicial, Hatch assigns error. State v. Goebel, 36 Wash.2d 367, 218 P.2d 300 (1950).

An essential element of the crime of receiving stolen property is scienter, knowledge that the property possessed was 'wrongfully appropriated.' The evidence of similar transactions tended to establish Hatch's necessary guilty knowledge. The testimony to which Hatch assigns error tended to prove that Hatch was engaged in a systematic scheme or modus operandi.

(The) rule, however, has its well-defined and well-recognized exceptions, as where the element of motive, intent, identity, guilty knowledge, or a systematic scheme or plan is involved. In such instances, evidence of similar transactions may, in proper cases, be received to establish a constituent element of the crime charged, even though it may at the same time tend to prove the commission of other criminal offenses.

State v. Salle, 34 Wash.2d 183, 189, 208 P.2d 872, 875 (1949). See also State v. Hennings, 3 Wash.App. 483, 475 P.2d 926 (1970).

Additionally, some of the evidence concerning which Hatch complains was directly relevant to the charge against him, and although possibly involving other criminal acts, it was an inseparable part of the state's case. State v. Granville, 1 Wash.App. 976, 465 P.2d 693 (1970).

Hatch's further assignments of error are all in...

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  • State v. Bresolin
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 5 Mayo 1975
    ...1 Wash.App. 976, 978, 465 P.2d 693, 695 (1970). See also State v. Niblack, 74 Wash.2d 200, 443 P.2d 809 (1968); State v. Hatch, 4 Wash.App. 691, 483 P.2d 864 (1971). HEARSAY The defendant's second contention is that the court erred in allowing a police officer to testify that following the ......
  • State v. Nordquist, No. 35343-1-II (Wash. App. 3/11/2008)
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 11 Marzo 2008
    ...was present when Hamer previously met Nordquist at a friend's house where she had been staying. RP at 58-59. 8. See State v. Hatch, 4 Wn. App. 691, 694, 483 P.2d 864 (1971) ("An explanation that cannot be checked or rebutted is suspect by `reasonable man' standards."). See also Douglas, 71 ......
  • State v. Garfield
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 20 Enero 2015
    ...of Beck's guilt to the jury. We mentioned that there might have been insufficient evidence had Beck not testified. In State v. Hatch, 4 Wn.App. 691, 483 P.2d 864 (1971), police found, at Marvin Hatch's business, shakes from a shingle mill on the previous day. Hatch told the arresting office......
  • State v. Garfield
    • United States
    • Washington Court of Appeals
    • 20 Enero 2015
    ...v. Tollett, 71 Wn.2d 806, 810,431 P.2d 168 (1967); having a past history of transactions involving stolen goods, State v. Hatch, 4 Wn. App. 691, 693, 483 P.2d 864 (1971); or hiding the stolen property. McPhee, 156 Wn. App. at 63. The State presented no such evidence against Benjamin Garfiel......
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