State v. Moore

Decision Date21 December 1863
Citation15 Iowa 412
CourtIowa Supreme Court

Appeal from Jasper District Court.

DEFENDANT was indicted, tried and found guilty of "cheating by false pretenses." On his motion the judgment was arrested, for the reason that no offense against the laws of this State was charged in the indictment, and the State appeals.


C. C Nourse, Attorney-General, and H. S. Winslow, District Attorney, for the State, cited The People v Babcock, 7 John. 201 ; The People v. Johnson 12 Id. 292 ; Moore v. The Commonwealth, 3 Barn. 260 ; The People v. Haynes, 14 Wend. 547.

C. C. Cole, for the appellee, cited Rev. 1860, §§ 4394, 4856 ; 2 Bish. Cr. Law, §§ 391-394; Moore v. The Commonwealth, 3 Barn. 360.

Hon. CALEB BALDWIN, Chief Justice, Hon. GEORGE G. WRIGHT, Judge, Hon. RALPH P. LOWE, Judge, from December 7 to December 24, 1863. Hon. GEORGE G. WRIGHT, Chief Justice, Hon. RALPH P. LOWE, Judge, from January 1, 1864, to the conclusion of the Term. [*]



The indictment charges, that defendant by false pretenses induced one Jane Piney to take from him several worthless promissory notes, whereby he obtained an indorsement and credit upon a certain promissory note of eleven hundred dollars, held by the said Jane Piney against said Moore. The judgment was arrested, for the reason that the indictment did not show that the prisoner had obtained any money, goods or other property, within the meaning of the statute. And this ruling we think must be affirmed.

The statute is (§ 4394): "If any person designedly and by false pretense, or by any privy or false token, and with intent to defraud, obtain from another any money, goods or other property; or so obtain the signature of any person to any written instrument, the false making of which would be punished as forgery, he shall be punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary," &c.

To obtain an indorsement or credit upon a promissory note, is not obtaining property, money or goods, within the meaning of the statute. No harm is done by such an act, for in the language of Mr. Bishop (Cr. Law, 2, § 391), "the credit is a mere intangible thing of no value." Such a case differs very materially from the act of obtaining, by false pretenses, on acceptance on mercantile paper. And yet it has been held in England, that this was not a violation of the statute. In another case, where a defendant to induce his bankers to pay his checks, drew a bill which had no chance of being paid, in consequence of which the bankers paid money for him, it was holden not to be within the act, because he only obtained credit, and not any specific sum on the bill. 2 Bishop 391, a; 2 Wharton Cr. Law, § 2138. Without by any means sustaining the reasoning in these cases, we cite them to show how far some courts have gone, even when goods or money have passed upon the strength of the credit so obtained. To obtain a credit upon a note, falls far short of the act of procuring an acceptance upon mercantile paper, or money to be paid by fraudulently drawing a bill.

This case differs from that of The People v. Stone, 9 Wend. 182, for there the defendant induced Filley to become his indorser upon a promissory note, which he afterwards used for his own benefit. The case of The People v Johnson, 12 Johns. 292,...

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4 cases
  • State v. Pietranton
    • United States
    • West Virginia Supreme Court
    • October 14, 1952
    ...the Court held: 'Person is not guilty of stealing his own goods if he is entitled to possession of goods at time of taking.' In State v. Moore, 15 Iowa 412, the Court held that to obtain an endorsement or credit upon a promissory note is not obtaining 'property, money or goods within the me......
  • State v. Chambers
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • February 19, 1917
    ... ... Therefore, we are at some loss to ... understand the relevancy of In re Cameron (Kans.), ... 24 P. 90, that, if defendant is entitled to the immediate ... possession of the property which he obtains by false ... pretense, he cannot be convicted; and of State v ... Moore , 15 Iowa 412, and Mikell Cas. Crim. Law, 846, that ... obtaining what is the equivalent of an endorsement of credit ... on an evidence of indebtedness is not within the statute ...          1-b ...          By ... Instruction F offered, defendant contends, as we understand ... ...
  • State v. Miller
    • United States
    • Oregon Supreme Court
    • July 6, 1951
    ...thing procured 'must actually pass from the hand of the defrauded person.' There must be 'actual physical tradition'.' See, also, State v. Moore, 15 Iowa 412; State v. Smith, 195 La. 783, 197 So. 429; People on Complaint of McGovern v. Weisbard, supra; 2 Bishop on Criminal Law, op. cit., 38......
  • State v. Kiefer
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • March 17, 1915
    ...account; or, to put it another way, induced Stoner to allow an entry of a charge against his account. In the early case of State v. Moore, 15 Iowa 412, this court held "To obtain an endorsement or credit upon a promissory note is not obtaining property, money or goods, within the meaning of......

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