State v. Johnson, 18532

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtMOSS; LEWIS and BRAILSFORD, JJ., and T. B. GRENEKER and GEORGE T. GREGORY, Jr.
Citation248 S.C. 153,149 S.E.2d 348
PartiesThe STATE, Appellant, v. Joseph L. JOHNSON, Jr., John Mayo Jones and John F. Maybank, Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. 18532,18532
Decision Date14 July 1966

Page 348

149 S.E.2d 348
248 S.C. 153
The STATE, Appellant,
Joseph L. JOHNSON, Jr., John Mayo Jones and John F. Maybank,
No. 18532.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
July 14, 1966.

[248 S.C. 155]

Page 349

Arthur G. Howe, Sol., Charleston, for appellant.

[248 S.C. 156] Pritchard, Myers & Morrison, Ernest F. Hollings, Falcon B. Hawkins, Charleston, for respondents.

[248 S.C. 157] MOSS, Chief Justice.

The respondents were indicted on September 14, 1964, by the Charleston County Grand Jury for (1) rape; (2) assault with intent to ravish; (3) assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature; and (4) conspiracy. The case came on for trial before the Honorable James B. Pruitt, Presiding Judge, and a jury, at the March 1965 term of the Court of General Sessions, and resulted in a verdict of acquittal on March 5, 1965.

Thereafter, on March 8, 1965, the entire jury panel was summoned to appear in court and each juror was examined by the court and the solicitor with reference to whether they had been contacted or communicated with by friends, relatives and acquaintances of the respondents prior to the trial. As a result of the aforesaid hearing, on March 12, 1965, twelve persons were cited by the Court to appear on March 18, 1965, and show cause, if any they could, as to why they should not be held in contempt for unlawfully attempting to influence some twenty-one prospective jurors on behalf of certain of the respondents.

Immediately following the conclusion of the testimony in the contempt proceedings, and before the Court had pronounced any judgment thereabout, the State made an oral motion for 'a mistrial of the entire cause' on the ground that in law and in fact there was no jury because of what had happened to the jurors Owens and Traynor which could not have been known at the time they were presented any only subsequently known after the verdict was rendered. Thereafter, on March 22, 1965, the State, by written notice, confirmed the oral notice and motion, to which reference has heretofore been made, and asked the Court 'to declare the purported trial heretofore had in said cause to be null and void and of no legal force or effect inasmuch as the jury impaneled therefor did not in law constitute a jury.' It was the position of the State that the two members of the jury [248 S.C. 158] heretofore named, through fraud and collusion,

Page 350

received evidence other than that received at the trial, thereby improperly influencing said jurors in their verdict.

The aforesaid motion of the State was denied by the trial judge. He held that both the State and the respondents received a fair and impartial trial by a fair and impartial jury, and we quote from his order the following:

'I find that the jury that heard this case and rendered its verdict was a lawful jury, properly drawn and impanelled and sworn in accordance with the statutes and decisions of the State of South Carolina. At the commencement of the trial I believed each of the juror's statements under oath that they would give a fair and impartial trial. Nothing occurred at the trial or since to change this belief. The hearings in contempt proceedings subsequent to the trial do not indicate any fraud or collusion on the part of the two jurors cited, but rather these jurors exhibited a commendable resistance to such contacts. I observed these two jurors and others closely during the trial of the case. They were attentive and showed serious concern. A full presentment was allowed the State and the Defendants; and, while some may agree and others disagree with the verdict, it can be said that both the State and the Defendants have had their day in court before a fair and impartial jury--and a lawful one. * * *'

The State has appealed from the aforesaid order upon the following ground:

'In that the Court erred in not ordering another trial because the verdict of acquittal was a nullity and in law no trial was had, when it was discovered for the first time after trial that prior thereto two members of the jury sitting received evidence, other than that received at the trial itself, particularly, when said evidence so received was through the fraud and collusion of persons acting on behalf of the Respondents, and, also, when said jurors and two additional jurors sitting had unlawful and undue influence brought to bear upon them by persons acting on behalf of the Respondents.'

[248 S.C. 159] The motion of the appellant for a mistrial was based solely upon the alleged undue influence brought to bear upon the jurors Owens and Traynor and the receiving of evidence by them through the fraud and collusion of persons acting on behalf of the respondents. Undue influence with regard to the two additional jurors mentioned in the exception cannot be considered by this Court since that question was not presented to nor passed upon by the trial judge. State v. McCrary, 242 S.C. 506, 131 S.E.2d 687. Therefore, we will confine our discussion to the jurors named in the motion.

Prior to the argument of the appeal in this case, the respondents duly moved before this Court to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the State has no right of appeal from a verdict of acquittal. We have held in numerous cases that the State does not have the right of appeal from a judgment of acquittal in a criminal case. State v. Rogers, 198 S.C. 273, 17 S.E.2d 563; and State v. McWaters, 246 S.C. 534, 144 S.E.2d 718. However, in State v. Howell, 220 S.C. 178, 66 S.E.2d 701, we held that '(a) verdict of acquittal procured by accused by fraud and collusion is a nullity...

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  • United States v. Harvey, 10843.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 29 Agosto 1977
    ...v. Henarie, 32 F. 417, 427 (C.C.D.Or.1887); State ex rel. Sullivan v. Peterson, 64 Ariz. 40, 165 P.2d 309, 312 (1946); State v. Johnson, 248 S.C. 153, 149 S.E.2d 348, 350-51 (1966). The trial court's action "was functionally indistinguishable from a declaration of mistrial." Lee v. United S......
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    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
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    ...v. Jones, 7 Ga. 422 (1849); State v. Bell, 81 N.C. 551 (1879); State v. Howell, 220 S.C. 178, 66 S.E.2d 701 (1951); State v. Johnson, 248 S.C. 153, 149 S.E.2d 348 (1966). This principle has been applied in other contexts. Goene v. State, 577 So.2d 1306 (Fla.1991); State v. Burton, 314 So.2d......
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    • 29 Junio 1998 determine the credibility of the jurors; therefore, this Court should grant him broad deference on this issue. State v. Johnson, 248 S.C. 153, 149 S.E.2d 348 (1966) (the question of the impartiality of the juror is addressed to the discretion of the trial judge); State v. Loftis, 232 S.C......
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    • 6 Abril 2022 the law and evidence, there is no abuse of discretion in the trial court's decision to qualify the juror." (citing State v. Johnson , 248 S.C. 153, 163-64, 149 S.E.2d 348, 353 (1966) )).i. Juror 350 During individual juror qualification, defense counsel asked Juror 350 if she understood ......
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