Tiffany v. Commonwealth

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtSTERRETT, J
Citation121 Pa.St. 165,15 A. 462
PartiesTIFFANY v. COMMONWEALTH.
Decision Date01 October 1888
15 A. 462
121 Pa.St. 165

TIFFANY
v.
COMMONWEALTH.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

October 1, 1888.


Error to court of oyer and terminer, Susquehanna county; McCOLLUM, Judge.

Indictment against Judson E. Tiffany for the murder of Samuel Hocum. Verdict, murder in the second degree.

E. L. Blakeslee, A. H. McCollum, and Geo. A. Post, for plaintiff in error. F. I. Lott and Cornelius Smith, for defendant in error.

STERRETT, J The clear and comprehensive charge of the learned president of the oyer and terminer contains a correct exposition of the law applicable to the several degrees of homicide upon which the jury were required to pass, except in his refusal to charge, substantially as requested by the prisoner, that a reasonable doubt as to the existence of malice was sufficient to reduce the grade of homicide below murder of the second degree. His refusal to so instruct the jury is practically the subject of complaint in the first four specifications of error. While it was not denied that the deceased, Samuel Hocum, died from the effect of a pistol-shot wound inflicted by the prisoner, it was contended that the shooting was done in justifiable self-defense, or, at the very utmost, under such legal provocation as stripped the act of malice, and reduce the grade of offense to manslaughter. Considerable evidence was introduced for the purpose of showing that the prisoner was assaulted on his own premises by deceased and his companion, Lafayette Crandall; that the attack was so fierce and violent as to warrant him in believing he was in danger of great bodily harm or loss of life unless he used the pistol in defending

15 A. 463

himself. Without referring fully to the evidence, it is sufficient to say that it tended to sustain the contention, and presented a proper case for submission to the jury on questions of fact involved therein. Among other things, the prisoner himself testified: "I went to my lot to pick berries, * * * and while I was there, busy picking berries, Crandall and Hocum came where I was, and I said, 'How do you do,' pleasantly, and they responded, and I saw they had been drinking. Hocum said,' Why don't you let Steve alone? Why do you meddle with his distillery?' And I said, 'That is my business;' and Hocum said, 'We'll make it ours. If you don't stop informing against him, we will fix you in a way that you will wish you never had.' I said, 'Gentlemen, get off from my premises. I will not be abused on my own land. You shall not pick berries here.' And Crandall said: 'Lick him, Sam. You can do it without any help. I will go and sit down, and see the fun.' And Crandall started away slowly, and Hocum called me names. Question. What did he call you? Answer. He called me a liar. He said I was a liar. Q. What else? A. Well he used some hard language. I would not be able to tell exactly, perhaps. I told him to go off, and at that he struck his hand in my face. I stepped away. We walked slowly down the hill. He halted to stick his hands in my face. I told him I didn't want any quarrel; that I had never struck a man in my life. Then he struck me in the stomach and on the right cheek. I told him to let me alone. If he wanted to quarrel, he could have his drunken quarrel with his son-in-law, as he had the other night, when he got his face marked. He picked up a stone, and struck me in the left side, stunning me. He had another stone, and says, 'I will smash your brains out, you son of a bitch;' and just then I saw Crandall running. He throwed his pail, and was running with all his might, with his fist doubled up, straight towards me, and I was scared, and I hollowed, 'Help!' and Hocum said, 'I will help you with a bullet;' and Crandall says, 'Shoot him, Sam; shoot him.' Hocum had a stone in his hand, and put his other hand towards his hip pocket, and stepped towards me. I had heard that they were desperate characters, and quarreled among themselves, and threatened to shoot each other, and threatened to kill each other, and I suddenly thought of my revolver, and I jerked it out, and I was so excited and scared that I hardly realized when the revolver went off. Just then Crandall had hold of me, and jerked me down, and had one hand on my...

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8 practice notes
  • State v. Webb
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • 20 Enero 1899
    ...sec. 29, and note A; People v. Riordon, 117 N.Y. 71, 22 N.E. 455; People v. Downs, 123 N.Y. 558, 25 N.E. 988; Tiffany v. Commonwealth, 121 Pa. St. 165, 6 Am. St. Rep. 775, 15 A. 219; Rudy v. Commonwealth, 128 Pa. St. 500, 18 A. 344; Commonwealth v. McKie, 1 Gray, 61, 61 Am. Dec. 410; People......
  • State v. Ardoin, 18,584
    • United States
    • Louisiana Supreme Court
    • 13 Febrero 1911
    ...29, and note; People v. Riordan, 117 N.Y. 71, 22 N.E. 455; People v. Downs, 123 N.Y. 558, 25 N.E. 988; Tiffany v. Com., 121 Pa. 165, 15 A. 462, 6 Am. St. Rep. 775; Rudy v. Com., 128 Pa. 500, 18 A. 344; Com. v. McKie, 1 Gray (Mass.) 61, 61 Am. Dec. 410; People v. Coughlin, 65 Mich. 704, 32 N......
  • Gravely v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • 16 Enero 1894
    ...Greenl. Ev. 29, and note a; People v. Riordan, 117 N. Y. 71, 22 N. E. 455;People v. Downs, 123 N. Y. 558, 25 N. E. 988;Tiffany v. Com., 121 Pa. St. 165, 15 Atl. 462;Rudy v. Com., 128 Pa. St. 500, 18 Atl. 344;Com. v. McKie, 1 Gray, 61;People v. Coughlin, 65 Mich. 704, 32 N. W. 905;Lilienthal......
  • State v. Zeigler.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • 13 Abril 1895
    ...S. W. Rep. 561; 17 S. E. Rep. 108; 8 W. Va. 766; 20 W. Va. 679; 37 W. Va. 813; 3 Greenl. Ev. § 5, note d; 117 N. Y. 71; 123 N. Y. 553; 121 Pa. St. 165; 128 Pa. St. 500; 1 Gray 61; 97 U. S. 237; 1 Bish. Crim. Pro. 1048. [40 W.Va. 595] Attorney-General Riley for the state, cited 33 W. Va. 370......
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8 cases
  • State v. Webb
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • 20 Enero 1899
    ...sec. 29, and note A; People v. Riordon, 117 N.Y. 71, 22 N.E. 455; People v. Downs, 123 N.Y. 558, 25 N.E. 988; Tiffany v. Commonwealth, 121 Pa. St. 165, 6 Am. St. Rep. 775, 15 A. 219; Rudy v. Commonwealth, 128 Pa. St. 500, 18 A. 344; Commonwealth v. McKie, 1 Gray, 61, 61 Am. Dec. 410; People......
  • State v. Ardoin, 18,584
    • United States
    • Louisiana Supreme Court
    • 13 Febrero 1911
    ...29, and note; People v. Riordan, 117 N.Y. 71, 22 N.E. 455; People v. Downs, 123 N.Y. 558, 25 N.E. 988; Tiffany v. Com., 121 Pa. 165, 15 A. 462, 6 Am. St. Rep. 775; Rudy v. Com., 128 Pa. 500, 18 A. 344; Com. v. McKie, 1 Gray (Mass.) 61, 61 Am. Dec. 410; People v. Coughlin, 65 Mich. 704, 32 N......
  • Gravely v. State
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • 16 Enero 1894
    ...Greenl. Ev. 29, and note a; People v. Riordan, 117 N. Y. 71, 22 N. E. 455;People v. Downs, 123 N. Y. 558, 25 N. E. 988;Tiffany v. Com., 121 Pa. St. 165, 15 Atl. 462;Rudy v. Com., 128 Pa. St. 500, 18 Atl. 344;Com. v. McKie, 1 Gray, 61;People v. Coughlin, 65 Mich. 704, 32 N. W. 905;Lilienthal......
  • State v. Shadwell
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 26 Mayo 1899
    ...Underh. Cr. Ev. § 325; People v. Druse, 103 N. Y. 655, 8 N. E. 733;People v. Gordan, 103 Cal. 568, 37 Pac. 534;Tiffany v. Com., 121 Pa. St. 165, 15 Atl. 462;Powell v. State, 101 Ga. 9, 29 S. E. 309;Stalcup v. State (Ind. Sup.) 45 N. E. 334;Garner v. State, 28 Fla. 113, 9 South. 835; Sawyer ......
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