State v. Weiner

Decision Date15 June 1911
Citation80 A. 198,84 Conn. 411
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court

Appeal from Superior Court, New London County; Lucien F. Burpee, Judge.

Leon Weiner was convicted of theft, and he appeals. Affirmed.

Charles W. Comstock and John H. Barnes, for appellant.

Hadlai A. Hull, State's Atty.

THAYER, J. The information charges the defendant and two others, Epstein and Needles, with the crime of theft. Needles pleaded guilty, and testified for the state that he and Epstein stole the property in question, consisting of horses and carriage and harnesses, in the state of Rhode Island, and brought it to the defendant's farm in Montville, in this state. It was the claim of the state that Weiner was an accessory to the crime, or that he received the goods and concealed them, knowing them to have been stolen, and so was punishable under the statute as a principal thief.

The assignments of error all relate to the charge of the court. The first claimed error discussed by the defendant in his brief is not found among his assigned errors. It is based upon the court's neglect at one point in its charge, when speaking of the elements essential to constitute the crime of receiving and concealing stolen goods, to state that concealing was one of the elements of the crime. This was a mere inadvertence, for the court had previously instructed the jury that to warrant a conviction the burden rested upon the state to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused actually received into his possession the goods or articles alleged to have been stolen; that after receiving them he followed it up by concealing them; and that at the time the articles were received and concealed he knew that they were stolen. Of this no complaint is or can be made by the accused. After this clear statement of the facts essential to be proved to warrant a conviction, the accused could not have been harmed by the inadvertence complained of.

Having told the jury that the testimony of Needles was to be regarded as that of an accomplice, and that it needed corroboration, and having called their attention to certain corroborating circumstances claimed to have been proved by the state, the court said to the jury: "I now call your attention to the fact that, now having pleaded guilty, Needles is face to face with the results of his crime; that he must face and endure his punishment; and that the falsity or truth of his story can have no longer any effect upon the consequences of his crime." This is assigned for error as improper comment. There is nothing in the record to show that any promise had been held out to this witness that his punishment should be mitigated if he testified for the state, or that the fact was not as stated by the court. Having told the jury that the accomplice was not a full witness, it was not improper to call their attention to the fact that he was testifying after conviction, and so without hope of escaping punishment. It was not the fact that he was an accomplice, but the fact that he was a self-confessed thief, which affected his credibility. It is not now the rule in this state that the testimony of every accomplice needs corroboration. It is only when moral turpitude attaches to the fact that they are accessories that the court needs to caution the jury that corroboration is necessary. In this case that fact was present, and the court properly charged that corroboration was necessary. State v. Carey, 76 Conn. 342, 348, 56 Atl. 632. So far as appears, the accused could not have been harmed by the comment complained of.

The instruction complained of in the second assignment of error is too manifestly correct to require comment. If Weiner and Epstein took the harnesses, part of the stolen property, from the carriage and took them into a lot and there placed them in boxes, and nailed the boxes up and covered them with other boxes, there was evidence before the jury which warranted them, if they believed the evidence, in concluding that the parties were engaged both in the receiving and concealing that portion of the property, and the jury were so instructed. This is the Instruction complained of. This is not equivalent to telling the jury that they could from these facts find the parties guilty of receiving and concealing the goods, knowing them to be stolen, nor does it eliminate, as the defendant contends, the question of guilty knowledge from their consideration. The jury were not told that from these facts alone they could find the parties guilty, or that they had knowledge that the goods was stolen property.

The third assignment of error relates to a portion of the charge which purports to state the claim of the state touching the conduct of the accused. It does not appear that it is not a correct statement of the claim; it contains no statement of any legal proposition; and the appeal presents no question for the consideration of this court.

In the portion of the charge criticized in the sixth assignment of error, the jury were told that, if from certain evidence referred to by the court they were satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that Weiner, on the day after the stolen horses were brought to Montville, drove one of them to New London and attempted to sell it for one-half its value, they would be justified in finding that he received and concealed it. It is claimed that this makes the guilt of Weiner depend upon this transaction at New London, and not...

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29 cases
  • State v. Hayes
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 4, 1941
    ... ... elsewhere fully and adequately covered. But the jury would ... not reasonably have understood that thereby the court meant ... in any way to relieve the state of the burden of proving all ... the elements of the crime charged before the accused could be ... found guilty. State v. Weiner, 84 Conn. 411, 415, 80 ... A. 198. ‘ The charge is to be read as a whole and error ... cannot be predicated upon detached sentences or portions of ... it. State v. Pecciulis, 84 Conn. 152, 161, 79 A ... 75.’ State v. Murphy, 124 Conn. 554, 566, 1 ... A.2d 274, 279 ... ...
  • State v. Moynahan
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 5, 1973
    ...inferred at the time he received them that the goods were stolen. State v. Pambianchi, 139 Conn. 543, 546, 95 A.2d 695; State v. Weiner, 84 Conn. 411, 416, 417, 80 A. 198. This rule also applied to the second claim of the state as charged by the court. See State v. Fredericks, 149 Conn. 121......
  • State v. Andrews
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • November 6, 1962
    ...evidence. State v. Sul, 146 Conn. 78, 87, 147 A.2d 686; see State v. Heno, 119 Conn. 29, 32, 174 A. 181, 94 A.L.R. 696; State v. Weiner, 84 Conn. 411, 417, 80 A. 198. The defendant admitted to the police officer who confiscated the thirteen magazines that they did not come to the store thro......
  • State v. Gabriel
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 13, 1984
    ...accused as a reasonable man--should have inferred and gathered from them knowledge that the goods were stolen.' State v. Weiner, 84 Conn. 411, 418 [80 A. 198 (1911) ]." State v. Appletree, 35 Conn.Sup. 531, 534, 394 A.2d 744 (1977); see also State v. Fredericks, 149 Conn. 121, 124, 176 A.2d......
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