State v. Rhodes

CourtSupreme Court of New Mexico
Citation413 P.2d 214,76 N.M. 177,1966 NMSC 64
Docket NumberNo. 7981,7981
PartiesSTATE of New Mexico, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Thomas RHODES, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date11 April 1966

Chester A. Hunker, Clovis, for appellant.

Boston E. Witt, Atty. Gen., Gary O. O'Dowd, Myles E. Flint, Asst. Attys. Gen., Santa Fe, for appellee.

CARMODY, Chief Justice.

Appellant has prosecuted this appeal from the judgment and sentence following conviction by a jury of a charge of a sale of a narcotic drug, to-wit, marijuana.

Two questions are presented, one relating to the sentence and the other to a claim of former jeopardy.

In 1962, appellant was charged by an information containing seven counts, all relating to possession or sale of marijuana. At that time, after first pleading not guilty to all seven counts, he later changed his plea to guilty to Counts 2 and 3 and the district attorney thereupon dismissed the other five counts of the information. Appellant was then sentenced to the penitentiary, where he served more than two and a half years before being released on a writ of habeas corpus, granted by the federal court on the basis that he was not represented by counsel at the time of the entry of his plea of guilty. Following this release, appellant was returned to Curry County and a new information was filed, again charging him with the same seven counts. After a succession of court-appointed counsel, he was brought to trial on the new information, and at the close of the case the jury found him guilty of Count No. 7, the other six counts having been dismissed by the district attorney. The appellant had not taken the stand at the trial, but, when he was brought before the court for sentencing, he was questioned by the trial judge as to whether he had ever before been convicted of a felony. He responded that he had been convicted in Kansas in 1953 on a charge of possession of marijuana seed. Following this exchange, the court sentenced him to the penitentiary 'for a period of not less than five years nor more than twenty years as a second offender of the narcotic laws of this State.'

We will dispose of the contentions made by appellant in inverse order of their presentation in the brief.

It is urged that jeopardy attached in the 1962 proceedings, on a theory that appellant having entered a plea of not guilty, the case was at issue and a dismissal thereafter constituted an acquittal. This argument is without merit, because double jeopardy does not apply until the trial has been commenced. As we said in Ex Parte Williams, 1954, 58 N.M. 37, 265 P.2d 359:

'* * * jeopardy attaches when issue is joined upon an indictment or information, and the jury is impaneled and sworn to try the cause. * * *'

Thus it requires more than a joining of the issue, but contemplates the impaneling of a jury, or, in non-jury cases, the presentation of at least some evidence on behalf of the state. See United States v. Aurandt, 1910, 15 N.M. 292, 107 P. 1064, 27 L.R.A.,N.S., 1181; Bassing v. Cady, 1908, 208 U.S. 386, 28 S.Ct. 392, 52 L.Ed. 540; Hunter v. Wade (10th Cir. 1948), 169 F.2d 973, 8 A.L.R.2d 277, aff'd, 336 U.S. 684, 69 S.Ct. 834, 93 L.Ed. 974; McCarthy v. Zerbst (10th Cir.1936), 85 F.2d 640, cert. denied, 299 U.S. 610, 57 S.Ct. 313, 81 L.Ed. 450.

Appellant's assertion that the sentence was invalid is of more consequence. The statute with which we are here concerned, insofar as pertinent, is as follows (§ 54--7--15, N.M.S.A.1953):

'Any person violating the foregoing sections (54--7--13, 54--7--14) shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished as follows:

'A. For the first offense, upon conviction, he shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) and imprisoned not less than two (2) years nor more than ten (10) years.

'B. For the second offense, or if in case of a first offense of a violation of any provision of this act (54--7--13 to 54--7--15) the offender shall have previously been convicted of any violation of the laws of the United States or any state, territory or district of the United States relating to narcotic drugs or marijuana, the offender shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) and imprisoned not less than five (5) years nor more than twenty (20) years.'

In this case, there was never any charge filed against this appellant which would give him notice that, if convicted, he would be sentenced as a second offender. We have recently had occasion to discuss the differences between the Habitual Criminal Act and the Narcotic Drug Act, insofar as there two statutes relate to subsequent convictions. See State v. Lujan, 76 N.M. 111, 412 P.2d 405, filed March 21, 1966. The Habitual Criminal Act is fairly definite as to how the charges should be made, and this court, in recent decisions, has construed the statute in an effort to make more uniform the procedures for charging subsequent convictions and the manner in which sentences should be imposed therefor. Lott v. Cox, 1965, 75 N.M. 102, 401 P.2d 93; and Lott v. Cox, 76 N.M. 76, 412 P.2d 249, No. 8072, decided March 7, 1966. However, the above quoted statute is completely lacking in any legislative direction as to...

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24 cases
  • State v. Tijerina, 701
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • December 22, 1972 grants when others were allowed to do so.' and sworn. State v. Ferris, 80 N.M. 663, 459 P.2d 462 (Ct.App.1969); State v. Rhodes, 76 N.M. 177, 413 P.2d 214 (1966). The jury had not been empaneled when indictment No. 4005 was At the beginning of the voir dire examination of the jury the ......
  • State v. Salas
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • April 20, 2017 imposed." State v. Santillanes , 1981-NMSC-064, ¶ 5, 96 N.M. 477, 632 P.2d 354 (citing State v. Rhodes , 1966-NMSC-064, ¶ 11, 76 N.M. 177, 413 P.2d 214 ). This standard applies to various statutory sentencing enhancement schemes. See, e.g. , Caristo v. Sullivan , 1991-NMSC-088, ¶¶ 41-44,......
  • 1997 -NMSC- 10, State v. Anaya
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Mexico
    • December 6, 1996
    ...a pleading seeking to enhance the defendant's sentence, the state has complied with the guidelines set out in [State v.] Rhodes], 76 N.M. 177, 181, 413 P.2d 214, 217 (1966) (holding that fairness requires pleading giving notice and opportunity to be heard before imposition of increased pena......
  • State v. Wilson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of New Mexico
    • April 11, 2001
    ...631-32,818 P.2d at 409-10. In so holding, Justice Montgomery relied on the long-established principle set out in State v. Rhodes, 76 N.M. 177, 181, 413 P.2d 214, 217 (1966), that "essential fairness requires that there be some pleading filed by the state ... by which a defendant is given no......
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