Williams v. State

Decision Date10 July 1922
Docket Number22434
Citation129 Miss. 469,92 So. 584
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

1. CRIMINAL LAW. Corpus delicti cannot be established by confession of accused alone.

The corpus delicti cannot be proven alone by the confession of the defendant.

2. CRIMINAL LAW. Evidence obtained by unlawful search of premises of accused inadmissible.

Evidence obtained against a defendant in a criminal case as the result of a search of his home and premises without a search warrant in violation of section 23 of the Constitution cannot be used against such defendant on his trial, because to do so would violate that clause of section 26 of the Constitution guaranteeing persons charged with crime against forced self-incrimination; there being no difference in principle in forcing a defendant to speak against himself by word of mouth, and in forcing, by an unlawful search, the contents of his home and premises to give evidence against him. In either case his constitutional guaranty against being compelled to give evidence against himself is violated.

3. CRIMINAL LAW. Evidence unlawfully obtained by search corroborated only by accused's confession of corpus delicti held insufficient.

If such evidence so obtained is the only evidence corroborative of defendant's confession of the corpus delicti it is insufficient to sustain a conviction.


APPEAL from circuit court of De Soto county, HON. GREEK L. RICE Judge.

Moody Williams was convicted of manufacturing intoxicating liquors and he appeals. Reversed, and defendant discharged.


Tipton & Wall, for appellant.

The corpus delicti is not established in this case by evidence offered by the state; by evidence aliunde the confession alleged to have been made, or by all the evidence taken as a whole as shown by the record.

There is no evidence of whiskey having been manufactured or that any of the alleged implements were used in the manufacture of whiskey or that they were adapted to the manufacture of whiskey, and no whiskey was discovered, produced, or offered in evidence before the jury. The motion of appellant as to the corpus delicti having not been proven should have been sustained. (Sam v. State, 33 Miss. 347; Stanley v. State, 82 Miss. 498; Murray v. State, 104 Miss. 296; Barton v. State, 111 Miss. 231; Rayborn v. State, 115 Miss. 730; Patterson v. State, 90 So. 2.)

Confessions are to be regarded with great caution and this court has frequently condemned alleged confessions, where, under all the circumstances, it was probable that they were induced by fear, threats, or violence, and it is respectfully submitted that all the circumstances surrounding the confession alleged to have been made indicate that if made at all it was through fear, threats, or violence. (Jones v. State, 58 Miss. 349; Whitley v. State, 78 Miss. 255; McMasters v. State, 82 Miss. 459; Reason v. State, 94 Miss. 290; Johnson v. State, 107 Miss. 196.)

All the alleged evidence in this case was obtained upon the premises of appellant by officers who were not provided with the necessary search warrant for such search and seizure, and should have been excluded from the jury. (Cons. State of Mississippi, 1890, sections 23 and 26; Article 4, Amending Constitution of United State; Gould v. U.S. 225 U.S. Rep. 298; Amos v. U. S. 225 U.S. Rep. 313; Wyoming v. Theodore Peterson and Chas. Romano, 194 P. 13, A. L. R. 1284; Youman v. Commonwealth of Ky., 224 S.W. 860; Livelar v. State, 53 So. 681; State v. Marshall, 100 Miss. 626; U. S. F. & G. Co. v. State, 121 Miss. 369; Banfill v. Byrd, et al., 122 Miss. 288; City of Hattiesburg v. Beverly, 123 Miss. 759; Powers v. State, 86 So. 862; Reed v. State (Ala), 90 So. 37, and cases therein cited.) Upon the trial of the cause, and while the appellant, Moody Williams, was testifying on the stand as a witness in his own behalf, the sheriff, E. S. Nichols, within the hearing of the court and jury, broke into and interrupted the testimony by exclaiming to the witness, "Look out, nigger!" Such demonstration by the sheriff, and armed officer of the court was improper and warranted the court in withdrawing the case from the jury. Such expression, besides terrifying to the witness, was calculated to prejudice his case before the jury, the witness denying the alleged confession testified to by sheriff. (Cavanah v. State, 54 Miss. 299; Evans v. State, 54 So. 154; Collins v. State, 56 So. 666.)

Wm. Hemingway, assistant attorney-general, for the state.

The requirements as to the corpus delicti seems to have been fully met, the liquor which the defendant told the sheriff he had made from the still, and the still, were all located. It was not necessary to search the premises or to locate the still after the confession that the defendant had manufactured the liquor in the two-gallon jug.

As to whether duress or force of any kind was used in procuring the confession, the facts were submitted to the jury, the assertion by the negro that he was mistreated, and the denial by Mr. Campbell. Mr. Campbell was introduced as a witness for the defendant. He testified that the negro was drunk when arrested and that his confession was free and voluntary. A drunken person is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be arrested by any conservator of the peace who sees him drunk in a public place, as in this case, which was on the street in the town of Hernando.

The exclamation of the sheriff, "look out, nigger," seems to have been an impulsive statement warning the negro not to make a misstatement. He had not said that he had made the confession to Mr. Nichols and his continuation of his testimony showed that he meant Mr. Campbell, and that Nichols was hot present at the alleged assault in the jail.

It is submitted that the evidence in this case was not procured by an unlawful search. The evidence of the manufacturer of the whiskey was procured before they went upon the premises. The exclamation of the sheriff would have no more effect upon the jury than did his testimony. The evidence shows the manufacture of the liquor and the possession of the still, which is confessed to by the defendant. All these matters are on conflicting evidence, upon which the jury has passed.

It is respectfully submitted that no error has been committed which would lead the court to disregard the verdict of the jury.



Appellant, Moody Williams, was indicted and convicted in the circuit court of De Soto county of the crime of manufacturing intoxicating liquors, and sentenced to the penitentiary for a term of two years, from which he prosecutes this appeal.

Appellant was arrested at night without a warrant, and placed in jail at Hernando, the county site of De Soto county, where he remained until the next morning. On the next morning,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
41 cases
  • Moore v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • April 6, 1925
    ... ... line of decisions. First and foremost as authority in this ... state is the decision of this court in the case of Tucker ... v. State, 128 Miss. 211, 90 So. 845, and the following ... cases decided by this court subsequently: Hill v ... State, 129 Mass. 445, 92 So. 578; Williams v ... State, 129 Miss. 469, 92 So. 584; Butler v ... State, 129 Miss. 778, 93 So. 3 (Automobile); Taylor ... v. State, 129 Miss. 815, 93 So. 355; State v ... Patterson, 95. So. 96; Owens v. State, 98 So ... 233; Smith v. State, 98 So. 344; Regnall v ... State, 98 So. 444; ... ...
  • Owens v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • December 17, 1923
    ...immaterial. Failure to read warrant did not vitiate proceedings." This court has held in the case of Tucker v. State, 90 So. 845; Williams v. State, 92 So. 584; Miller State, 93 So. 2; Butler v. State, 93 So. 3; and Taylor v. State, 93 So. 355, that evidence unlawfully obtained was not admi......
  • Sykes v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • June 9, 1930
    ... ... state attempted to prove ownership by the fact that a new ... lock was placed on the trunk by defendant, yet there was no ... witness who could testify that defendant placed the lock on ... the trunk, this was not sufficient ... Lambert ... v. State, 94 So. 162; Williams v. State, 98 So. 338; ... King v. State, 113 So. 173; Medlin v. State, 108 So ... In ... order to sustain a verdict of guilty of the possession of ... liquor it is necessary that the evidence show that the ... property searched was owned or in the possession of the ... defendant, or ... ...
  • Quan v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 15, 1939
    ... ... Spears v. State, 99 So. 361; Sanders v ... State, 141 Miss. 615, 106 So. 822; Webb v. Sardis, 143 ... Miss. 92, 108 So. 442 ... Evidence ... procured unlawfully by an officer is inadmissible in ... evidence ... Tucker ... v. State, 128 Miss. 211, 90 So. 845; Williams v ... State, 129 Miss. 469, 92 So. 584; Butler v ... State, 129 Miss. 778, 93 So. 3; State v ... Patterson, 130 Miss. 680, 95 So. 96; Strangi v ... State, 134 Miss. 31, 98 So. 340; Matthews v ... State, 134 Miss. 807, 100 So. 18; Morton v ... State, 136 Miss. 284, 101 So. 379; Deaton v ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT