Watts v. State, No. 28447.

Docket NºNo. 28447.
Citation82 N.E.2d 846, 226 Ind. 655
Case DateDecember 29, 1948
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

226 Ind. 655
82 N.E.2d 846

WATTS
v.
STATE.

No. 28447.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

Dec. 29, 1948.


Robert Austin Watts was convicted of murder while attempting to commit rape, and he appeals.

Affirmed.

[82 N.E.2d 847]

Appeal from Shelby Circuit Court; Harold G. Barger, Judge.
Warren Brown, of Shelbyville, for appellant.

Cleon Foust, Atty. Gen., Frank E. Coughlin, First Deputy Atty. Gen., and Merl M. Wall and Alvin E. Meyer, Deputy Attys. Gen., for appellee.

[82 N.E.2d 848]


STARR, Chief Justice.

The appellant was tried upon an indictment returned by the Grand Jury of Marion County in two counts; the first of which charged murder in the first degree of one Mary Lois Burney by shooting; and the second charged the same murder while attempting to rape the said Mary Lois Burney. To this indictment appellant entered a plea of not guilty and a special plea of insanity. Appellant was convicted on the second count and sentenced to be electrocuted. The errors assigned will be considered in the order presented by the briefs.

Appellant attempted to question the indictment by a motion to quash, which was overruled by the trial court. The appellant is a member of the Negro race. The only reason urged for the sustaining of this motion was that in the selection of the grand jury, which returned this indictment, Negroes were excluded from service because of their race and color. This question cannot be raised by a motion to quash. Any irregularity in the selection, impaneling or swearing of a grand jury must be raised by a plea in abatement. Bottorff v. State, 1927, 199 Ind. 540, 156 N.E. 555;State v. Jackson, 1918, 187 Ind. 694, 121 N.E. 114. A motion to quash an indictment only reaches matters apparent on the face thereof. § 9–1129, Burns' 1933, 1942 Replacement; State v. Jackson, supra; Katzen v. State, 1922, 192 Ind. 476, 137 N.E. 29; Bottorff v. State, supra, and does not authorize searching the record preceding the indictment. Swain v. State, 1939, 215 Ind. 259, 18 N.E.2d 921; Bottorff v. State, supra. It was not error, therefore, to overrule this motion.

In passing, however, we desire to state that the trial court did hear evidence on this motion, which evidence was contradictory. There was ample evidence from which the trial court would have been justified in finding that Negroes were not so excluded from the Grand Jury of Marion County which returned this indictment. For example, one witness, Glenn Funk, testified that within the past two years he knew of two Negroes who were drawn as members of a jury in the Marion County Cirminal Court, but they did not serve. Another witness, Judson L. Stark, the Prosecuting Attorney of Marion County, testified that the drawing was regular and that names are selected for jury service without regard as to whether they are white or colored; that there were three Negroes called on the grand jury venire within the last three years. Another witness, Glen W. Parrish, a deputy clerk, testified that no discrimination was shown in selecting names to go into the jury box; that there are many colored persons' names in the box, and that he had seen the names of colored persons drawn from the box and selected. See Swain v. State, supra. There was no proof of a systematic effort to exclude Negroes from jury service.

Appellant insists that the court erred in admitting in evidence his written confession of the crime charged. It is contended that the undisputed evidence shows that this confession was made by the appellant under the influence of fear produced by threats, intimidation and undue influence, which renders this confession inadmissible in evidence as provided by § 9–1607, Burns' 1933, 1942 Repl.

At the time, during the trial, when the exhibits incorporating appellant's confession were offered in evidence by the State, appellant objected to these offers on the ground that they had been signed by appellant under the influence of fear produced by threats, intimidation and undue influence. Thereupon, out of the presence and hearing of the jury, the trial court accorded a full hearing on the issues presented by the objection. Appellant's evidence was to the effect that he was not guilty; that prior to his confession he had been beaten, starved, threatened and otherwise abused to such an extent that he signed his confession under the influence of fear. This evidence was contradicted in detail by the testimony of various competent witnesses who testified for the State. This evidence on admissibility being conflicting, the court's ruling adverse to appellant cannot be questioned in this appeal as we cannot weigh the evidence. Dixon v. State, 1946, 224 Ind. 327, 67 N.E.2d 138;Hawkins v. State, 1941, 219 Ind....

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10 practice notes
  • Davis v. State, 1 Div. 937
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • 7 Abril 1964
    ...332 U.S. 596, 68 S.Ct. 302, 92 L.Ed.2d 224 (147 Ohio St. 340, 70 N.E.2d 905). Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, 93 L.Ed. 1801 (226 Ind. 655, 82 N.E.2d 846). Turner v. Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S.Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810 (358 Pa. 350, 58 A.2d 61). Harris v. South Carolina, 338......
  • Watts v. State, No. 28695
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 8 Diciembre 1950
    ...of guilty returned and sentence of death imposed. The case was then appealed to this court and affirmed. Watts v. State, 1949, Page 573 226 Ind. 655, 82 N.E.2d 846. The judgment of this court was reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States, and was reversed. Watts v. State, 1949, 338......
  • Townsend v. State, No. 2-479A110
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 13 Abril 1981
    ...juror during voir dire, and the court gave an explanatory instruction over the defendant's objection. Overruling Watts v. State (1949) 226 Ind. 655, 82 N.E.2d 846, rev'd on other grounds, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, 93 L.Ed. 1801, the court held it was error to instruct that a convicted def......
  • Watts v. State of Indiana Harris v. State of South Carolina Turner v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Nos. 610
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 27 Junio 1949
    ...from him were procured under circumstances rendering their admission as evidence against him a denial of due process of law.2 Ind.Sup., 82 N.E.2d 846. The grounds on which our review was sought seemed sufficiently weightly to grant the petition for certiorari. 336 U.S. 917, 69 S.Ct. 636. On......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Davis v. State, 1 Div. 937
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • 7 Abril 1964
    ...332 U.S. 596, 68 S.Ct. 302, 92 L.Ed.2d 224 (147 Ohio St. 340, 70 N.E.2d 905). Watts v. Indiana, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, 93 L.Ed. 1801 (226 Ind. 655, 82 N.E.2d 846). Turner v. Pennsylvania, 338 U.S. 62, 69 S.Ct. 1352, 93 L.Ed. 1810 (358 Pa. 350, 58 A.2d 61). Harris v. South Carolina, 338......
  • Watts v. State, No. 28695
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • 8 Diciembre 1950
    ...of guilty returned and sentence of death imposed. The case was then appealed to this court and affirmed. Watts v. State, 1949, Page 573 226 Ind. 655, 82 N.E.2d 846. The judgment of this court was reviewed by the Supreme Court of the United States, and was reversed. Watts v. State, 1949, 338......
  • Townsend v. State, No. 2-479A110
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 13 Abril 1981
    ...juror during voir dire, and the court gave an explanatory instruction over the defendant's objection. Overruling Watts v. State (1949) 226 Ind. 655, 82 N.E.2d 846, rev'd on other grounds, 338 U.S. 49, 69 S.Ct. 1347, 93 L.Ed. 1801, the court held it was error to instruct that a convicted def......
  • Watts v. State of Indiana Harris v. State of South Carolina Turner v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Nos. 610
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 27 Junio 1949
    ...from him were procured under circumstances rendering their admission as evidence against him a denial of due process of law.2 Ind.Sup., 82 N.E.2d 846. The grounds on which our review was sought seemed sufficiently weightly to grant the petition for certiorari. 336 U.S. 917, 69 S.Ct. 636. On......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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