State v. Hild, No. 47256.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBLISS
Citation240 Iowa 1119,39 N.W.2d 139
PartiesSTATE v. HILD.
Decision Date20 September 1949
Docket NumberNo. 47256.

240 Iowa 1119
39 N.W.2d 139

STATE
v.
HILD.

No. 47256.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Sept. 20, 1949.


Roy J. Hild was convicted in Boone District Court, G. R. Hill, J., of obtaining money from the county by false pretenses, and he appealed.

The Supreme Court, Bliss, J., reversed the judgment, holding that corroboration of accomplice's testimony was insufficient to sustain conviction, and that the attorney for prosecution committed reversible error in his cross-examination of defendant's reputation witnesses and in his argument to jury.

[39 N.W.2d 140]

The defendant, a member of the Board of Supervisors of Polk County, Iowa, was indicted by a grand jury of said county, on June 13, 1947, and accused of obtaining $703.07 from it by false pretenses, as defined in section 713.1, Code of Iowa, 1946, I.C.A. He pleaded not guilty, and on his petition the venue of trial was changed to the Boone District Court, where, after trial commencing on December 4, 1947 and terminating on the 24th of said month, the jury returned a verdict of guilty. Defendant's motions in arrest of judgment, and for new trial, and exceptions to the court's instructions were overruled, and on January 31, 1948, judgment was entered and

[39 N.W.2d 141]

defendant was sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for a period not to exceed seven years and fined $500. Defendant perfected his appeal to this court on January 31, 1948. The judgment is

Reversed.

C. B. Hextell, Des Moines and Doran, Doran & Doran and N. A. Erbe, Boone, for appellant.

Robert L. Larson, Attorney General of Iowa, Don Hise, First Assistant Attorney General, Ed S. Thayer, Des Moines, County Attorney of Polk County, for appellee.


BLISS, Justice.

The indictment was signed by Carroll O. Switzer, county attorney of Polk County. The assistant Polk County attorney, Ed S. Thayer, and Paul E. Hellwege, County Attorney of Boone County, conducted the trial for the state.

It is not contended by the state that the defendant was the principal actor in the crime charged in the indictment, nor that he obtained Polk County warrant No. A 49864 for $703.07 from the county auditor, nor that it was payable to him, cashed by him, or that he ever received any part of its proceeds. It is the contention of the state that defendant participated in the crime by aiding and abetting one Elmer G. Croft to obtain said warrant and the proceeds thereof by false pretenses. As required by section 688.1, Code of 1946, I.C.A., defendant was indicted and tried as a principal.

Croft was a dealer in automobiles and repairs and rendered motor service in general at his place of business at 701 Cherry Street in Des Moines, which he operated under the trade name of ‘Modern Motor Service’. He had previously operated the same kind of business at other locations in Des Moines where he bought and sold new and secondhand cars and serviced and repaired cars. For many years he had serviced the motor vehicles of the Polk County sheriff (10 or 15 motor vehicles); of the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation (more than 18 cars); of the Polk County Home; the Polk County Relief cars, and the cars of other county officers and of private persons. During the years 1944, 1945, 1946 and for several years just preceding, Croft had serviced, repaired, painted, supplied parts and did whatever was needed to keep in operatind condition five Chevrolet sedans, one coupe and a panel truck belonging to the Polk County Welfare Board, two or three passenger cars, two trucks and a fire truck at the County Home, and eight or more cars for the County Sheriff. The cars of the Welfare Board had been bought new by funds of the Des Moines Community Chest and given to the Welfare Board in January or February, 1942. These seven cars used by the Board were housed at the place of business of Croft when not in use, and, under an arrangement with the Board of Supervisors or its Welfare Committee, Croft was paid $100 each month for the storage, washing, greasing and incidental minor servicing of these cars.

Croft had been convicted in the district court of Polk County of a felony-the theft of an automobile-on November 10, 1933, and shortly thereafter was sentenced to imprisonment for the statutory period in the penitentiary at Fort Madison. After serving less than a year he was paroled in 1934. He returned to Des Moines, and in January, 1935, he began the operation of a service garage on the premises of the county jail. In January, 1940, he moved his place of business to 701 Cherry Street. He was a good motor vehicle mechanic and through the years he gained the respect and confidence of his patrons. The care of the official vehicles was left largely to his own discretion and judgment.

On December 31, 1946, a Polk County grand jury jointly indicted Croft, William H. Cotton, and H. H. Thompson, for obtaining money from Polk County, by means of false pretenses, through claim No. 1756. (Exhibit 53 in the case at bar.) The same grand jury jointly indicted Croft and Charles E. Parmenter for obtaining money by false pretenses from Polk County through claim No. 1893 (Ex. 51 in the case before us). Croft was tried in January and February 1947, on the indictment first noted, and convicted, and on February 18, 1947 it was adjudged that he be imprisoned

[39 N.W.2d 142]

in the penitentiary at Fort Madison for seven years and pay a fine of $500. The judgment was affirmed by this court on July 29, 1947. State v. Croft, Iowa, 28 N.W.2d 330. Early in 1947 Thompson, Parmenter and Cotton were each separately tried. The first named was acquitted. The second was convicted and judgment affirmed, State v. Parmenter, Iowa, 29 N.W.2d 172. The third was convicted and judgment reversed. State v. Cotton, Iowa, 33 N.W.2d 880.

Promptly upon Croft's incarceration in the penitentiary under his sentence on February 18, 1947, he was interviewed there by Sheriff Reppert of Polk County and its County attorney, Carroll O. Switzer. After serving thirty-six hours of his sentence, Croft, under other of the Polk County District Court, was returned to Des Moines for imprisonment in the Polk County jail, so that he might be more available for consultation with the prosecuting attorneys, and use as a witness for the State. At the time of the trial of defendant's case, Croft had been on his release from the penitentiary for about nine months, although all facts must have been thoroughly detailed to the prosecuting officers during the preceding trials.

Defendant was sixty-nine years old at the time of the trial. He and his wife have lived on Des Moines for many years. They have four living children. He was born and reared in Tama County, Iowa, where he received his grade and high school education. He attended the University of Iowa and Highland Park College in Des Moines and obtained a degree in pharmacy. For a few years he and his brothers operated drug stores in Tama County. He then came to Des Moines where he and others operated three drug stores for some time. Later he and others organized the Union Realty Company which business was continued for twenty years. In 1932 he became a salesman for a large cement company and was so engaged for ten years and later was district sales manager of the Penn-Dixie Company. He then bought a 140-acre farm about eight miles north of Des Moines for about $9000, which he lived on and operated until it was acquired by the United States Government during World War II as a testing station. He received about $23,000 for it.

He moved back to his old home on East 14th street in Des Moines and became a resident of the 2nd Supervisor District which is located in Des Moines, east of the Des Moines River. Polk County is divided into five Supervisor districts. The 1st District is west of the river in Des Moines and Districts 3, 4 and 5 are in the county outside of Des Moines. The supervisors are not elected at large, but by districts. The defendant was a candidate at the general election in 1942 for supervisor in the 2nd District and was elected, but, under the election statutes, he did not qualify and take office until the second of January, 1944.

While the duties and responsibilities of each supervisor are coextensive with the county, certain parts of the work and departments were assigned to designated members for individual attention and divided among eleven committees. When the board of supervisors met and organized on January 3, 1944, the members, other than the defendant, were William H. Cotton, from the 1st District, and B. B. Dewey, A. C. Hitz and Charles Elson from the country districts. At the organization meeting in January 1944, Cotton was elected chairman of the board of supervisors. Cotton was also chairman of the Polk County Board of Secial Welfare. Besides Cotton its members in 1944 were Hitz, Dewey, Elson, and Mrs. M. L. Northup, who was not a member of the board of supervisors. Hild was made chairman of the Juvenile Home Committee. This Home was in east Des Moines. Elson was the other member of the committee. Hild was vice-chairman of the auditing committee of which Elson was the chairman. Hitz was chairman of the County Home committee and Elson was vice-chairman.

At the organization meeting in January, 1945, Cotton was again chosen chairman of the board of supervisors. The chairman and members of the various committees, including the Board of Social Welfare, were the same as in 1944. In January, 1946, Charles E. Parmenter had succeeded

[39 N.W.2d 143]

Hitz. Cotton was again made chairman of the board. Parmenter was made chairman of the County Home committee, and Elson, vice-chairman. Elson was chairman of the auditing committee, and Hild was vice-chairman. Hild was again made chairman of the Juvenile Home committee. The board chose as the Polk County Board of Social Welfare for 1946, the following members: Cotton, chairman, Parmenter, Elson, Dewey, and Mrs. M. L. Northup.

Hild was never a member of the County Home committee, nor the purchasing committee, and the...

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10 practice notes
  • State v. Levy, No. 52602
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 18, 1968
    ...see State v. Leuty, 247 Iowa 251, 255--258, 73 N.W.2d 64; State v. Comes, 245 Iowa 485, 491--493, 62 N.W.2d 753; and State v. Hild, 240 Iowa 1119, 1147--1156, 39 N.W.2d 139. VI. By virtue of the fact this case must be remanded for new trial, other errors assigned should be considered. Defen......
  • State v. Martin, No. 55207
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 24, 1974
    ...i.e., to discredit a witness. See Hoffa v. United States, 385 U.S. 293, 311, 87 S.Ct. 408, 418, 17 L.Ed.2d 374 (1966); State v. Hild, 240 Iowa 1119, 1154--1155, 39 N.W.2d 139 (1949); 2 Underhill's Criminal Evidence, § 502 (5th ed.); 58 Am.Jur., Witnesses, § 610; 98 C.J.S. Witnesses § Manife......
  • Hild v. Polk County, No. 47916
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 18, 1951
    ...guilty and sentence was pronounced accordingly. On appeal to this Court, the judgment was reversed and the cause remanded. State v. Hild, 240 Iowa 1119, 39 N.W.2d 139. No further trial was had thereon and on April 3, 1950 cases Nos. 37247 and 37228 were dismissed by the Court. Criminal case......
  • Thompson v. Thompson, No. 47454.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 20, 1949
    ...Similar language has been used by the court in many decisions. See New York Life Ins. Co. v. Clemens, 230 Iowa 279, 289, 297 N.W. 253; [39 N.W.2d 139]Smith v. Smith, 179 Iowa 1365, 1372, 160 N.W. 756;Miller v. Armstrong, 234 Iowa 1166, 1169, 15 N.W.2d 265;Hyatt v. First National Bank, 193 I......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • State v. Levy, No. 52602
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • July 18, 1968
    ...see State v. Leuty, 247 Iowa 251, 255--258, 73 N.W.2d 64; State v. Comes, 245 Iowa 485, 491--493, 62 N.W.2d 753; and State v. Hild, 240 Iowa 1119, 1147--1156, 39 N.W.2d 139. VI. By virtue of the fact this case must be remanded for new trial, other errors assigned should be considered. Defen......
  • State v. Martin, No. 55207
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 24, 1974
    ...i.e., to discredit a witness. See Hoffa v. United States, 385 U.S. 293, 311, 87 S.Ct. 408, 418, 17 L.Ed.2d 374 (1966); State v. Hild, 240 Iowa 1119, 1154--1155, 39 N.W.2d 139 (1949); 2 Underhill's Criminal Evidence, § 502 (5th ed.); 58 Am.Jur., Witnesses, § 610; 98 C.J.S. Witnesses § Manife......
  • Hild v. Polk County, No. 47916
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 18, 1951
    ...guilty and sentence was pronounced accordingly. On appeal to this Court, the judgment was reversed and the cause remanded. State v. Hild, 240 Iowa 1119, 39 N.W.2d 139. No further trial was had thereon and on April 3, 1950 cases Nos. 37247 and 37228 were dismissed by the Court. Criminal case......
  • Thompson v. Thompson, No. 47454.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 20, 1949
    ...Similar language has been used by the court in many decisions. See New York Life Ins. Co. v. Clemens, 230 Iowa 279, 289, 297 N.W. 253; [39 N.W.2d 139]Smith v. Smith, 179 Iowa 1365, 1372, 160 N.W. 756;Miller v. Armstrong, 234 Iowa 1166, 1169, 15 N.W.2d 265;Hyatt v. First National Bank, 193 I......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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