Thompson v. State

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Citation117 Ala. 67,23 So. 676
Decision Date09 June 1898

23 So. 676

117 Ala. 67


Supreme Court of Alabama

June 9, 1898

Appeal from circuit court, Morgan county; James J. Banks, Judge.

Louis Thompson was convicted of rape, and appeals. Reversed.

The appellant in this case, a negro, was accused of the rape of Nellie Lawton, a white girl about 12 1/2 years of age. He was arrested on the 8th day of June, 1897, and a special term of court, being called for his trial, met on July 26, 1897. The defendant made application for a change of venue on July 27, 1897, which was overruled, and this action of the court constitutes the ruling of the trial court principally considered on the present appeal.

O. Kyle, for appellant.

Wm. C. Fitts, Atty. Gen., for the State.


Upon a careful consideration of the evidence adduced on the motion for a change of venue in this case, the court is satisfied that it should have been granted. The crime charged was of a character to produce the greatest public indignation. The trial was had within a short time after the alleged commission of the offense came to the knowledge of the public,-as soon as a special term of the court, called in obedience to a public demand for speedy punishment, could be convened and held. And the affidavits and other evidence show that the public were so greatly aroused against the defendant that it required the promptest and most vigorous action of the executive officers of the state from the governor down, and including the military, to protect the defendant from mob violence and summary execution; and, further, that this state of feeling continued down to and through the trial, and must have had such effect upon the jury as that their verdict was little else than the registration of the common belief of the people that the defendant was guilty, and a mode of carrying out the public purpose to take his life. The trial was not, and could not, under the circumstances then existing, have been, fair and impartial. The court erred in denying the change of venue moved for by defendant, and for that error its judgment must be reversed. Of the other exceptions reserved many are palpably...

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5 cases
  • Powell v. State, 8 Div. 322.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • March 24, 1932
    ...found. Seams v. State, 84 Ala. 410, 4 So. 521." The defendants have vigorously pressed upon our attention the case of Thompson v. State, 117 Ala. 67, 23 So. 676, as an authority not only justifying, but requiring, that this court should reverse the lower court in refusing the defendants' ap......
  • Patterson v. State, 8 Div. 320.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • March 24, 1932
    ...v. State, 147 Ala. 10, 41 So. 992. The facts going to show hostile demonstrations and threats toward the prisoner in Thompson v. State, 117 Ala. 67, 23 So. 676, do not appear in the report of that case, but [141 So. 197] the record in that case shows that threats of lynching were made, and ......
  • Williams v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • June 7, 1906
    ...was held to have been properly denied (Hawes v. State, 88 Ala. 39, 7 So. 302), and does not measure up to that in the Thompson Case, 117 Ala. 67, 23 So. 676, where it was held that the application should have been granted. Terry v. State, 120 Ala. 286, 25 So. 176; Thompson v. State, 122 Ala......
  • Gilliland v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 17, 1973
    ...involving violence to the person: specifically, murder and rape. Beecher v. State, 288 Ala. 1, 256 So.2d 154 (1971); Thompson v. State, 117 Ala. 67 (1897). Criminal activity in which no one is hurt or killed, while distasteful to the public, does not seem to arouse quite the same passions. ......
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