State v. Wheeler

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtGantt
Citation18 S.W. 924,108 Mo. 658
Decision Date02 March 1892
PartiesSTATE v. WHEELER.
18 S.W. 924
108 Mo. 658
STATE
v.
WHEELER.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 2.
March 2, 1892.

JURY — SEDUCTION OF UNMARRIED FEMALE — EVIDENCE — INSTRUCTIONS.

1. On a trial for seduction on a promise of marriage, one of the jurors, after they had been sworn, and before the introduction of evidence, used brutal language in regard to defendant, showing prejudice. The matter was at once brought to the attention of the court, and the juror's right to sit on the trial challenged, and he did not deny using the words attributed to him. Held, that the overruling of such challenge was ground for a new trial.

2. Where there was no evidence that the prosecutrix was an unmarried woman at the time of the alleged seduction, a judgment on conviction will be set aside.

3. Though an instruction that, if the jury find defendant guilty, they should assess his punishment, was objectionable in that it did not require the facts to be found "beyond a reasonable doubt," yet where another instruction defined reasonable doubt, and correctly gave defendant the full benefit of the presumptions of innocence, the objection was cured.

4. Though the maximum punishment was five years in the penitentiary, defendant was not harmed by an instruction that, in case the jury should find him guilty, they should fix the term of his imprisonment at not to exceed "seven" years, where the jury, after finding him guilty, left it to the court to fix the punishment, and the court sentenced him for one year only.

5. The court instructed that a promise of marriage could not be found from the evidence of the prosecutrix alone, but that it must be corroborated, either by other direct evidence, or by admissions of defendant, or by circumstances such as usually attend an engagement of marriage; but, where such circumstances are relied on as corroboration, proof of attention is not sufficient unless from its duration, and from the conduct of the parties, it reasonably carries conviction that an engagement of marriage exists; and the corroboration of the prosecuting witness must be something more than sufficient to overcome the oath of defendant and the legal presumption of innocence. Held, that this clearly informed the jury as to the amount of evidence required for such corroboration.

Appeal from criminal court, Jackson county; JAMES M. SANDUSKY, Special Judge.

Indictment against John A. Wheeler for seduction under a promise of marriage. Verdict of guilty, and judgment thereon. New trial denied. Defendant appeals. Reversed.

J. W. Beebe and L. H. Waters, for appellant. The Attorney General, for the State.

GANTT, P. J.


Defendant was indicted at the February term, 1884, of the criminal court of Jackson county. The cause was tried April, 1890. After the jury was sworn, and the opening statements of counsel made, the jury were allowed to separate, and the court adjourned until the following morning. After the adjournment, one Lynch, a member of the jury, in the hearing of a number of persons, said of defendant, "If the G__d d__n son of a bitch promised to marry the girl, why didn't he do it?" On the meeting of the court, defendant at once filed a number of affidavits of persons who heard the statement made by Lynch, and challenged Lynch's right to sit longer as a juror in this case. The challenge was overruled. The point was again made in the motion for new trial, supported by affidavits. Lynch made affidavit that he did not recollect making the remark, admits he was informed by the deputy-marshal that defendant's counsel were fussing about it while he was on the jury, and says he was unbiased. The prosecutrix testified that defendant commenced waiting on her in the spring of 1882. That they soon became engaged. That along in the summer or fall they had a falling out, and he quit his visits for some six weeks. He then renewed his visits, and they renewed their engagement. The 12th of July, 1883, was set for their marriage. That on the evening of July 1, 1883, he seduced her in the parlor of her father's house. That it occurred about 9 P. M., on the sofa. Her father and mother were up-stairs in bed. A hired girl was up-stairs in the room occupied by the girl and herself. The father swears that he was sleeping down-stairs, and that the dining-room was between his sleeping-room and the parlor. The front door of the house opened into the parlor, so that there were three doors leading out of it. In answer to a question asked by the state as to what was the inducement that led her to submit to carnal intercourse with defendant she said: "Well, he said he would marry me; that it wouldn't keep him from marrying me. I told him he wouldn't want to marry me after that, and he said he would." And the State then asked her, "Was that the inducement?" and she answered, "Yes, sir." Nancy Wheeler and her mother were allowed to testify, against defendant's objections, that after it was found that she was in the family way the defendant promised to marry her; two or three witnesses swore that she was a woman of good repute prior to June and July, 1883. The mother and a neighbor testified that she had a blue silk dress, a white dress, and some underwear made up in the

18 S.W. 925

spring of 1883. The mother swore that in...

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9 practice notes
  • State v. Lewis, No. 29186.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 8, 1929
    ...or innocence of the defendant are ineligible for jury service." Sec. 4014, R.S. 1919; State v. Connor, 252 S.W. 713; State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 658; State v. Gonce, 87 Mo. 627; State v. Burnside, 37 Mo. 343; State v. Wyatt, 50 Mo. Stratton Shartel, Attorney-General, and David P. Janes, Speci......
  • State v. Stemmons, No. 20719.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 16, 1918
    ...may be, each case must, to a great extent, he its own guide. State v. Davis, 141 Mo. loc. cit. 525, 42 S. W. 1083; State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 658, 18 S. W. 924; State v. Hill, 91 Mo. 423, 4 S. W. 121. Proof of preparations made for the marriage by prosecutrix, following a continuous courtshi......
  • State v. Duffy, No. 6409.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 13, 1929
    ...practically synonymous with the phrase “carnal knowledge.” See State v. Curran, 51 Iowa, 112, 49 N. W. 1006;State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 558, 18 S. W. 924;Putman v. State, 29 Tex. App. 454, 16 S. W. 97, 25 Am. St. Rep. 738;State v. Whalen, 98 Iowa, 662, 68 N. W. 554;State v. Long, 238 Mo. 383,......
  • State v. Connor, No. 23720.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 11, 1923
    ...accused that such juror had prejudged the case, and that fact is made to appear to the satisfaction of the court." In State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 658, 663, 18 S. W. 924, 925, Judge Gantt "In our opinion, the court erred in not granting a new trial, because of the evident prejudice of the juro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. Lewis, No. 29186.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 8, 1929
    ...or innocence of the defendant are ineligible for jury service." Sec. 4014, R.S. 1919; State v. Connor, 252 S.W. 713; State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 658; State v. Gonce, 87 Mo. 627; State v. Burnside, 37 Mo. 343; State v. Wyatt, 50 Mo. Stratton Shartel, Attorney-General, and David P. Janes, Speci......
  • State v. Stemmons, No. 20719.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • July 16, 1918
    ...may be, each case must, to a great extent, he its own guide. State v. Davis, 141 Mo. loc. cit. 525, 42 S. W. 1083; State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 658, 18 S. W. 924; State v. Hill, 91 Mo. 423, 4 S. W. 121. Proof of preparations made for the marriage by prosecutrix, following a continuous courtshi......
  • State v. Duffy, No. 6409.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • April 13, 1929
    ...practically synonymous with the phrase “carnal knowledge.” See State v. Curran, 51 Iowa, 112, 49 N. W. 1006;State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 558, 18 S. W. 924;Putman v. State, 29 Tex. App. 454, 16 S. W. 97, 25 Am. St. Rep. 738;State v. Whalen, 98 Iowa, 662, 68 N. W. 554;State v. Long, 238 Mo. 383,......
  • State v. Connor, No. 23720.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 11, 1923
    ...accused that such juror had prejudged the case, and that fact is made to appear to the satisfaction of the court." In State v. Wheeler, 108 Mo. 658, 663, 18 S. W. 924, 925, Judge Gantt "In our opinion, the court erred in not granting a new trial, because of the evident prejudice of the juro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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