State v. Main

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtHAMERSLEY, J.
Citation75 Conn. 55,52 A. 257
PartiesSTATE v. MAIN.
Decision Date11 June 1902
52 A. 257
75 Conn. 55

STATE
v.
MAIN.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

June 11, 1902.


52 A. 258

Appeal from superior court, New London county; John M. Thayer, Judge.

Lafayette P. Main was convicted of theft, and appeals. Affirmed.

The information charges the theft of one heifer, of the value of $20, on or about the 1st day of September, 1900. A statute passed in 1893 makes the theft of a heifer, irrespective of its value, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison. Prior to that time, punishment for such theft was graded according to the value of the animal stolen, and the imprisonment provided was in jail when that value was under $50. During the year 1900 Horace T. Knight, the owner of the stolen property, occupied a farm adjoining a tract of some 700 or 800 acres of land used by the owners thereof in common for pasturage, and had the right to pasture his cattle on said tract; and the defendant occupied a farm adjoining said tract, with the right to pasture his cattle thereon. It was admitted by the claims of the state and defendant that a yearling red heifer, which was the subject of the alleged theft, was in the spring of 1900 turned upon said tract of land to pasture for the season; that late in the fall this heifer was driven by the defendant from said tract of land to his farm, adjoining, and remained in his possession until June, 1901, when it was replevied at the suit of the said Knight; that at the time it was replevied it had a hole punched through its left ear; that several years before the defendant had adopted and had recorded as a mark for his cattle a hole punched through the left ear. The state offered evidence to prove, and claimed to have proved, that said Knight in May, 1900, owned and possessed a yearling red heifer, having marks by which it could be and was identified, and turned said heifer, with other yearlings belonging to him, into said tract for pasturage during the season; that fate in the fall defendant feloniously took said heifer from said tract of land, where she was in the possession of said Knight, he (the defendant) knowing her to be the property of Knight, and drove her to his farm, and held her there, claiming her as his own, until she was replevied as aforesaid; that the defendant at the time he so took said heifer, viz., late in October, 1900, and immediately after he had so driven her to his farm, punched a hole in her left ear; that during the years 1899 and 1900 the defendant did not own any red heifer. The defendant offered evidence to prove, and claimed to have proved, that in 1899 he raised a red heifer, and on May 30, 1899, when said heifer was eight weeks old, marked it with a punch through the left ear; that in the spring of 1901 he turned said heifer, so marked, with other yearlings belonging to him, into said tract of land for pasturage; that said red heifer remained there until late in the fall, when he took her to his farm, and kept her until replevied as stated; that said red heifer was his property; that he took her from said tract to his farm openly; and that he had openly claimed ownership of her to Knight and others.

The defendant made no request to charge. Upon the matter of a felonious taking the court charged as follows, and not otherwise: "* * * the information charges that on the 1st day of September, 1900, he (the defendant) feloniously stole and drove away a heifer, the property of Knight. To constitute the crime here charged, there must have been a wrongful taking and driving away of the heifer, with the felonious intent of depriving the owner of the heifer by appropriating her to the use of another. A mere taking and driving her away would not constitute the crime, therefore, although the taking might have been wrongful or unlawful. A person may wrongfully take another's property through mistake, in which case it would not constitute a crime, although it might render the person taking it liable in a civil action. To make it a crime, it must have been taken with a criminal intent. Where a person, knowing that a thing is the property of another, secretly takes it from that other's possession with the intention to deprive him of it and appropriate it to the taker's own use, there is a criminal intent,—a felonious taking. To drive away another's cattle from a pasture where he had placed them, with such knowledge and intent, would constitute the crime charged,—a theft of such person's cattle. * * * And they claim to have proved by a number of witnesses that the heifer which was then replevied was the one which Knight turned into the pasture, and which was in the pasture during the summer. And thus the state claims to have proved the ownership of the heifer in Knight; that the accused wrongfully stole, took, and drove her away out of the pasture where she rightfully was; and that he did it knowingly, with criminal intent to appropriate her to his own use and so deprive Knight of his property. This, if proved, would establish the guilt of the accused."

"Counsel for defendant, in argument, was about to state to the jury the punishment prescribed in chapter 113, Pub. Acts 1893, on which this information is based, when the state's attorney...

To continue reading

Request your trial
18 practice notes
  • State v. Couture
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • October 2, 1984
    ...it is not the jury's duty to pass upon the punishment of the accused. State v. Wade, 96 Conn. 238, 243, 113 A. 458 (1921); State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 63, 52 A. 257 PROSECUTOR'S SUMMATION During the opening summation, Walter Scanlon, chief assistant state's attorney, reading from a prepared......
  • State v. Smith, No. 19314.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • June 30, 2015
    ...takes property in the honest, though mistaken belief, that he has a right to do so, he has not committed larceny”), citing State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 57, 52 A. 257 (1902). Thus, the state concedes that both the common law and the unambiguous language of the relevant statutes supports the A......
  • State v. Smith, No. 33542.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 18, 2014
    ...802, 519 A.2d 1207 (1987).8 This principle is deeply entrenched in our law of larceny. Our Supreme Court enunciated in State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 59, 52 A. 257 (1902): “[T]o constitute the crime there must be not only a wrongful taking, but a wrongful taking with the intent of thus deprivi......
  • State v. Caballero, 16007
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 21, 1998
    ...a person takes property in the honest, though mistaken belief, that he has a right to do so, he has not committed larceny. State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 57, 52 A. 257 (1902).... [A] trespass is not theft, except when done with felonious intent. And he who carries away a thing openly and not c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • State v. Couture
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • October 2, 1984
    ...it is not the jury's duty to pass upon the punishment of the accused. State v. Wade, 96 Conn. 238, 243, 113 A. 458 (1921); State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 63, 52 A. 257 PROSECUTOR'S SUMMATION During the opening summation, Walter Scanlon, chief assistant state's attorney, reading from a prepared......
  • State v. Smith, No. 19314.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • June 30, 2015
    ...takes property in the honest, though mistaken belief, that he has a right to do so, he has not committed larceny”), citing State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 57, 52 A. 257 (1902). Thus, the state concedes that both the common law and the unambiguous language of the relevant statutes supports the A......
  • State v. Smith, No. 33542.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 18, 2014
    ...802, 519 A.2d 1207 (1987).8 This principle is deeply entrenched in our law of larceny. Our Supreme Court enunciated in State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 59, 52 A. 257 (1902): “[T]o constitute the crime there must be not only a wrongful taking, but a wrongful taking with the intent of thus deprivi......
  • State v. Caballero, 16007
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 21, 1998
    ...a person takes property in the honest, though mistaken belief, that he has a right to do so, he has not committed larceny. State v. Main, 75 Conn. 55, 57, 52 A. 257 (1902).... [A] trespass is not theft, except when done with felonious intent. And he who carries away a thing openly and not c......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT