State v. Murphy

Citation84 N.C. 742
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
Decision Date31 January 1881

INDICTMENT for larceny tried at Fall Term, 1879, of PENDER Superior Court, before Eure, J.

The prosecutor testified on the trial, that shortly after losing one of his hogs, in the month of October or November, he went to the house of defendant to inquire after his lost hog; that he described the hog to the defendant and he said he had not seen any hog of that description; that in two or three days afterwards he went to the defendant's house to look after some hogs in a pen which he did not see on a former visit; that he found two hogs in a pen; one of them was his hog; the pen was on the defendant's premises, about thirty yards from the road, and near the workshop of the defendant. He informed the defendant that one of the hogs was his; the defendant claimed the hog, and gave as a reason for not delivering it to the witness that some other person would claim it; the hog was not marked.

One Register was introduced for the state and testified that he went with the prosecutor to the house of the defendant, and was present when Jones, the prosecutor, claimed one of the hogs in the pen as his, and demanded it. This witness also testified that the other hog in the pen was his, and he then and there claimed it, and demanded of the defendant to deliver it to him. This testimony was objected to by the defendant, but the objection was overruled and defendant excepted. There was a verdict of guilty and from the judgment thereon the defendant appealed.

Attorney General, for the State .

Mr. D. J. Devane, for defendant .


The only question presented by the appeal for our determination is, whether the court below committed an error in admitting the testimony of the witness Register, “that the other hog in the pen of the defendant was his hog, and he then and there claimed it and demanded the defendant to deliver it to him.”

It is a fundamental principle of law, that evidence of one offence cannot be given in evidence against a defendant to prove that he was guilty of another. We have been unable to find any exception to this well established rule; except in those cases where evidence of independent offences have been admitted to explain or illustrate the facts upon which certain indictments are founded, as where in the investigation of an offence, it becomes necessary to prove the quo animo, the intent, design, or guilty knowledge, &c. In such cases, it has been held admissible to prove other offences of like character, as for instance, in indictments for passing counterfeit money, the fact that the defendant, about the same time, had passed other counterfeit money of like kind, has been uniformly held to be admissible to show the scienter or guilty knowledge. So on a charge for sending a threatening letter, prior and subsequent letters from the defendant to the person threatened, have been received in evidence, explanatory of the meaning and intent of the particular letter, upon which the indictment is found. Rex v. Boucher, 4 C. & P., 562.

It the case of Rex v. York, R. & R. C....

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50 cases
  • State v. McClain, 438
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • April 28, 1954
    ...24 S.E. 798; State v. Weaver, 104 N.C. 758, 10 S.E. 486; State v. Thompson, 97 N.C. 496, 1 S.E. 921; State v. Gooch, 94 N.C. 987; State v. Murphy, 84 N.C. 742; Stansbury on North Carolina Evidence, § 92; 20 Am.Jur., Evidence, § 311; 22 C.J.S., Criminal Law, § 663. 2. Where a specific mental......
  • State v. May, 62
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • June 13, 1977
    ...838, 109 S.E. 1 (1921); State v. Simons, 178 N.C. 679, 100 S.E. 239 (1919); State v. Parish, 104 N.C. 679, 10 S.E. 457 (1889); State v. Murphy, 84 N.C. 742 (1881), for similar cases. See also Annot., 42 A.L.R.2d 854, 858 (1955), and later case service for a compilation of cases admitting ev......
  • State v. Stancill
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • September 24, 1919
    ...Ev. (10th Ed.) p. 60, such testimony is thus classified: "First, as part of the res gestae. State v. Freeman, 49 N. C. 5; State v. Murphy, 84 N. C. 742; State v. Thompson, 97 N. C. 496, 1 S. E. 921; State v. Mace, 118 N. C. 1244, 24 S. E. 798; State v. Adams, 138 N. C. 688, 50 S. E. 765. Se......
  • State v. Beam
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 6, 1922
    ...the defendant is indicted in this case. State v. Beam, 179 N. C. 768, 103 S. E. 370, and authorities infra. The case of State v. Murphy, 84 N. C. 742, is, upon this question, a very instructive and illuminating one, the opinion being by Justice Ashe, who had for many years large experience ......
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