State v. Sampson

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Citation157 Iowa 257,138 N.W. 473
Decision Date19 November 1912

157 Iowa 257
138 N.W. 473


Supreme Court of Iowa.

Nov. 19, 1912.

Appeal from District Court, Cerro Gordo County; J. F. Clyde, Judge.

From a judgment convicting him of larceny from a dwelling the defendant appeals. Reversed.

[138 N.W. 473]

F. A. Ontjes, of Mason City, for appellant.

George Cosson, Atty. Gen., and John Fletcher, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.


[1] The accused, with Charles Bergman and Hans Olson, occupied the same room at 205 Hoyt street, in Mason City, and had done so for several weeks. In the evening of February 17, 1911, he retired at about 10 o'clock, and the others shortly afterwards, and, after they had fallen asleep, he arose, dressed, and, seizing Olson's watch from the dresser and Bergman's purse containing $42 from his trunk, departed. He was subsequently arrested and two informations filed with a justice of the peace, the one, sworn to by Olson, charging him with petit larceny of the watch and the other, sworn to by Bergman, alleging the larceny of the money from a dwelling. He pleaded guilty to both informations, and was immediately sentenced to serve a term of 30 days in the county jail on the former charge, and bound over to the grand jury on the latter, and was later indicted for the offense of larceny from a dwelling house. When put on trial, he pleaded his conviction of larceny of the watch by the justice as a bar to his prosecution under the indictment. On this issue, the court instructed that, “if in point of time and circumstances the taking of the watch and money was done on a single act or transaction, then there was but one crime, and your verdict must be for the defendant. But, if you find from the evidence that in point of time and circumstances the taking of the watch and money were done as separate acts and transactions, and not a single act or transaction, then the conviction of the crime of larceny of the watch would not bar a conviction of larceny of the money described in the indictment.” Appellant insists that no such issue was raised by the evidence, and in this we concur. The taking was from the same room, and, though the watch was stolen from the dresser and money from the trunk, these were parts of the same transaction perpetrated at the same time. That an instant or several minutes may have intervened between seizing the watch and the purse can make no difference if these were a part of the same transaction wherein the accused carried out his design of stealing these articles. Nor does the circumstance that the property belonged to different persons render the transaction divisible into two offenses. The state may

[138 N.W. 474]

not split up and prosecute separately distinct parts of the same crime. Undoubtedly, many authorities may be found holding that where a man simultaneously takes two or more articles belonging to different persons, even though at the same time, he may be separately prosecuted for the taking from each owner.

In State v. Thurston, 2 McMul. (S. C.) 382, the prisoner stole cotton belonging to three different persons, and the conviction of larceny in stealing that of one was held not to be a bar to prosecutions for theft from the others, saying “the stealing of the goods of different persons is always a distinct felony, or may at least be so treated by the solicitor, if in his discretion he thinks proper so to do.” See, also, Commonwealth v. Sullivan, 104 Mass. 553;U. S. v. Beerman, 5 Cranch, 420, Fed. Cas. No. 14,560. But these and like decisions in England have not been followed generally in this country. In State v. Emery, 68 Vt. 109, 34 Atl. 432, 54 Am. St. Rep. 878, the court states the rules sustained by the clear weight of authority as follows: “The theft of several articles at one and the same time and place, and by one and the same act, constitutes but one indivisible crime, even though the articles belong to different owners; and the judgment of conviction or acquittal of the theft of one of the articles is a bar to a prosecution for the theft of the others. A prosecution and conviction or acquittal for any part of a single crime bars any further prosecution based upon the whole or a part of the same crime. It is equally well settled that if, on the same expedition, there are several distinct larcenous takings, as taking the goods of one person at one place, and afterward taking the goods of another person at another place, and so on, as many crimes are committed as there are several and distinct takings.” In Lurton v. State, 7 Mo. 55, 37 Am. Dec. 179, the larceny was of goods belonging to Curle and Gibson, and instructions embodying the above principles were refused, and this was held to be error. See, also, State v. Morphin, 37 Mo. 373. In State v. Hennessey, 23 Ohio St....

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9 cases
  • Dyson v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 13, 2005
    ...around the same area, by rounding them up at the same time and placing them in one truck from the same loading pen); State v. Sampson, 157 Iowa 257, 259, 138 N.W. 473 (1912) (single larceny when defendant broke into room where two roommates were sleeping and stole items from each); People v......
  • State v. Copenhaver
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 21, 2014
    ...339, 342 (Iowa 1927). In State v. Sampson, the defendant stole a watch from one roommate and $42 from another while both were sleeping. 157 Iowa 257, 258, 138 N.W. 473, 473 (Iowa 1912). Nevertheless, we held the state could only prosecute one larceny. Id. at 263, 138 N.W. at 475. “That an i......
  • People v. Marquez
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 14, 2000
    ...although such articles belong to several different owners. (See Wharton's Criminal Law (vol.2) § 1171, p. 1489; State v. Sampson, 157 Iowa 257, 138 N.W. 473, 42 L.R.A.N.S. 967, and exhaustive note.)" (Id. at p. 859, 161 P.2d 941; See also, People v. Lyons (1958) 50 Cal.2d 245, 275, 324 P.2d......
  • State v. Folger
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 26, 1926
    ...(Iowa) 209 N. W. 419. The same is true in certain other cases. State v. Waterman, 87 Iowa, 255, 54 N. W. 359;State v. Sampson, 157 Iowa, 257, 138 N. W. 473, 42 L. R. A. (N. S.) 967;State v. Speedling, 199 Iowa, 1218, 201 N. W. 561. It is clear, therefore, that the plea of former jeopardy is......
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