State v. Tew

Citation68 S.E.2d 291,234 N.C. 612
Decision Date12 December 1951
Docket NumberNo. 219,219
PartiesSTATE, v. TEW.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina

Harry McMullan, Atty. Gen., Claude L. Love, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the State.

E. R. Temple, Jane A. Parker, Smithfield, for defendant appellant.

WINBORNE, Justice.

Appellant lists sixty-four assignments of error in the record on this appeal, of which thirty are based upon exceptions to the admission of evidence, and twenty-five or more upon exceptions to the charge of the court,--covey shots, so to speak. Upon these, ten questions are stated in brief of appellant, as being involved. We find, however, upon careful consideration, that only a few of them require express treatment.

1. Defendant in his brief contends that the court erred in admitting into evidence 'pictures of the glass, fingerprints and other objects in explanation of the testimony of the witness', the fingerprint expert. This contention is based upon numerous exceptions. It is without merit.

While the decisions of this Court uniformly hold that in the trial of cases, civil or criminal, in this State, photographs may not be admitted as substantive evidence, Honeycutt v. Brick Co., 196 N.C. 556, 146 S.E. 227; State v. Perry, 212 N.C. 533, 193 S.E. 727, the decisions hold that where there is evidence of the accuracy of a photograph, a witness may use it for the restricted purpose of explaining or illustrating to the jury his testimony relevant and material to some matter in controversy. See State v. Gardner, 228 N.C. 567, 46 S.E.2d 824, citing cases.

Among the cases there cited is Elliott v. Power Co., 190 N.C. 62, 128 S.E. 730, 731, in which this Court said: 'Plaintiff excepted because certain pictures were submitted to the jury. All of these pictures were used to explain the witnesses' testimony to the jury. It was not error for the court to allow the jury to consider the pictures for this purpose and to give them such weight, if any, as the jury may find they are entitled in explaining the testimony.'

Defendant cites and relies upon State v. Hooks, 228 N.C. 689, 47 S.E.2d 234, and State v. Palmer, 230 N.C. 205, 52 S.E.2d 908. It does not seem, however, that the decisions in these cases are in conflict with the principles hereinabove stated.

2. The next group of assignments of error treated in defendant's brief is based upon exceptions to testimony of the representative of the State Bureau of Investigation, the fingerprint expert, given on direct examination as to comparison of fingerprints lifted from the broken glass at the scene of the alleged crime, and photographed by him, with fingerprints of Hubert Tew, the defendant here, taken by some other person, at a local prison camp and then on file in the files of the Bureau, and that they corresponded. It is noted that when the testimony was admitted, defendant entered a general objection. But in the brief of defendant the objection is expressly limited to the effect of the testimony, that is, that, by the admission of it, 'defendant's character was placed in issue * * * without legal justification'. It is contended that by this testimony the jury was informed that defendant had previously served in a prison camp--which had the effect of bringing his character in issue.

The well settled rule, as restated by Denny, J., in State v. Godwin, 224 N.C. 846, 32 S.E.2d 609, that when incompetent evidence is admitted over objection and the same evidence has theretofore or thereafter been admitted without objection, the benefit of the objection is ordinarily lost; but, as stated by Brogden, J., in Shelton v. Southern R. R., 193 N.C. 670, 139 S.E. 232, 235, 'the rule does not mean that the adverse party may not, on cross-examination, explain the evidence or destroy its probative value, or even contradict it with other evidence upon peril of losing the benefit of his exception.'

Applying this rule, as so interpreted, to the situation in hand, if it be conceded that the testimony to which objection was made is objectionable, testimony to the same effect was brought out on cross-examination. Moreover, it appears that the cross-examination was not kept within the bounds of the rule as above stated. It developed testimony that the State Bureau of Investigation had five sets of fingerprints of defendant in its files. And indeed there is testimony, admitted without objection, that defendant stated that he had learned 'after being arrested for different cases that it is best to keep your mouth shut'. Hence on this record these assignments of error fail to show prejudicial crror.

3. The assignment of error based upon exception to denial of defendant's motion for judgment as of nonsuit was...

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32 cases
  • State v. Foster
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • December 12, 1973
    ...relative and material to some matter in controversy. Stansbury's North Carolina Evidence § 34 (Brandis rev. 1973); State v. Tew, 234 N.C. 612, 68 S.E.2d 291 (1951). Accuracy is established where, as here, it is shown by extrinsic evidence that the photograph is a true representation of the ......
  • Rogers, In Matter of, 78
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • April 20, 1979
    ...photographs may only be used for illustrative purposes. State v. Foster, 284 N.C. 259, 200 S.E.2d 782 (1973); State v. Tew, 234 N.C. 612, 68 S.E.2d 291 (1951); See 1 Stansbury, Supra, § 34. These photographs were not used to illustrate anyone's testimony. Neither so far as the record reveal......
  • State v. Irick
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • January 31, 1977
    ...of the perpetrator of a crime is a requirement that the testimony be given by an expert in fingerprint identification. State v. Tew, 234 N.C. 612, 68 S.E.2d 291 (1951); State v. Helms, 218 N.C. 592, 12 S.E.2d 243 (1940); State v. Huffman, 209 N.C. 10, 182 S.E. 705 (1935); State v. Combs, 20......
  • State v. Van Landingham
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
    • July 12, 1973
    ...cross-examination exceeded the bounds of the rule stated in Shelton v. R.R., 193 N.C. 670, 139 S.E. 232 (1927). See also State v. Tew, 234 N.C. 612, 68 S.E.2d 291 (1951); Cf. State v. Aldridge, 254 N.C. 297, 118 S.E.2d 766 We hold that the admission of Whitley's testimony to which objection......
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