State v. Purcell, No. 35264.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtFAVILLE
Citation191 N.W. 849,195 Iowa 272
PartiesSTATE v. PURCELL.
Docket NumberNo. 35264.
Decision Date13 February 1923

195 Iowa 272
191 N.W. 849

STATE
v.
PURCELL.

No. 35264.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Feb. 13, 1923.


Appeal from District Court, Woodbury County; W. G. Sears, Judge.

Appellant was indicted for the offense of aiding and assisting prisoners to escape from jail. He was convicted and appeals. Affirmed.

[191 N.W. 849]

H. I. Brouillette, Foster G. Iddings, and Ward R. Evans, all of Sioux City, for appellant.

Ben J. Gibson, Atty. Gen., John Fletcher and Neill Garrett, Asst. Attys. Gen., and O. T. Naglestad, Co. Atty., of Sioux City, for the State.


FAVILLE, J.

It appears from the evidence that the appellant, with others, was confined in the jail of Woodbury county. On the morning of February 27, 1922, the defendant and other prisoners escaped from said jail. The escape was effected by sawing bars off the cell in which the parties were confined and by breaking a window. All of the parties were subsequently apprehended.

[1] I. The appellant complains that the court erred in failing to specifically define the crime with which appellant is charged in the instructions submitted to the jury. The court instructed the jury that the appellant was “on trial before you for the crime of assisting prisoners to escape from jail alleged by the indictment to have been committed substantially as follows,” quoting the indictment. The indictment itself specifically charged the appellant, with others with the offense of “aiding and assisting prisoners lawfully detained in the Woodbury county jail to escape from said jail, by means of saws, ropes, and other instruments and means.” In other instructions the court explicitly advised the jury with regard to the crime with which appellant was charged and the facts necessary to be established in order to justify a conviction. The objection urged by appellant is without merit.

[2] II. The appellant offered as witnesses two of the parties who escaped from the jail at the time the appellant did, whose testimony was to the effect that the appellant did not help or assist the other prisoners to escape from the jail. In rebuttal the state offered testimony contradictory to the evidence of these witnesses. Appellant complains that no instruction was given upon the question of accomplices. The appellant, having introduced the testimony of the so-called accomplices himself, is hardly in a position to complain of the failure of the court to give the usual instruction regarding the necessity of corroboration of the evidence of an accomplice.

[191 N.W. 850]

III. Instruction 3 was as follows:

“You are instructed that our statute provides that, if any person, by any means whatever, aid or assist any prisoner lawfully detained in the penitentiary or any jail for a felony, in an attempt to escape, whether such escape be effected or not, he shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary not exceeding 10 years, or be fined not exceeding $500 and imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year.”

[3] Complaint is made of the portion of the instruction that tells the jury the penalty for the offense charged. This should have been entirely omitted from the instruction. In State v. Peffers, 80 Iowa, 580, 46 N. W. 622, we said:

“If there is any good reason for stating in the...

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10 practice notes
  • Hatter v. Warden, Iowa Men's Reformatory, No. C89-0062.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • April 17, 1990
    ...jury should not be informed of the applicable penalties. See State v. Loucks, 218 Iowa 714, 253 N.W. 838, 841 (1934); State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 191 N.W. 849, 850 (1923) ("The jury has no concern with the punishment which the law prescribes. Its function is to determine the fact questi......
  • State Of Iowa v. Hanes, No. 08-1231.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 12, 2010
    ...It is well-settled that juries should not be instructed regarding the statutory penalty for the charged offenses. See State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 274, 191 N.W. 849, 850 (1923) (“The trial court should in all criminal cases refrain from instructing the jury with regard to the punishment ......
  • State v. Hatter, No. 84-1298
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • November 26, 1985
    ...the law prescribes. Its function is to determine the fact question as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty." State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 191 N.W. 849, 950 Knowledge of the penalty is wholly irrelevant to the jury's unique part of the judicial system, that being a fact-finder......
  • State v. Piper, No. 01-1239.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 11, 2003
    ...the law prescribes. Its function is to determine the fact question as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty." State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 274, 191 N.W. 849, 850 The court's instruction in essence told the jury that if it found the defendant guilty, it would not determine the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Hatter v. Warden, Iowa Men's Reformatory, No. C89-0062.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • April 17, 1990
    ...jury should not be informed of the applicable penalties. See State v. Loucks, 218 Iowa 714, 253 N.W. 838, 841 (1934); State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 191 N.W. 849, 850 (1923) ("The jury has no concern with the punishment which the law prescribes. Its function is to determine the fact questi......
  • State Of Iowa v. Hanes, No. 08-1231.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 12, 2010
    ...It is well-settled that juries should not be instructed regarding the statutory penalty for the charged offenses. See State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 274, 191 N.W. 849, 850 (1923) (“The trial court should in all criminal cases refrain from instructing the jury with regard to the punishment ......
  • State v. Hatter, No. 84-1298
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • November 26, 1985
    ...the law prescribes. Its function is to determine the fact question as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty." State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 191 N.W. 849, 950 Knowledge of the penalty is wholly irrelevant to the jury's unique part of the judicial system, that being a fact-finder......
  • State v. Piper, No. 01-1239.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 11, 2003
    ...the law prescribes. Its function is to determine the fact question as to whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty." State v. Purcell, 195 Iowa 272, 274, 191 N.W. 849, 850 The court's instruction in essence told the jury that if it found the defendant guilty, it would not determine the ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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