페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Freeman v. Bridger.

the objection as to them: The defendant, at the time the articles were contracted for, had a guardian.

While an infant lives with a parent, he cannot bind himself even for necessaries, unless it be proved that the parent was unable or unwilling to furnish the child with such clothes, &c., as the parent considers necessary, “ for no man shall take upon himself to dictate to a parent what clothing the child shall wear, at what time they shall be purchased, or of whom." Bainbridge v. Pickering, 2 Blackstone's Rep. 1325.

“Guardians for infants are presumed to furnish all necessaries, and a stranger who furnishes board, or any thing else, must, except under peculiar circumstances, take care to contract with the guardian.” State v. Cook, 12 Ire. Rep. 67; Ilussey v. Roundtree, Busb. Rep. 110; Hyman v. Cain, 3 Jones' Rep. 111; Richardson v. Strong, 13 Ire. Rep. 106; Downey v. Bullock, 7 Ire. Eq. Rep. 102. These cases settle the rule, that where there is a guardian, the replication “for necessaries” does not avoid the plea of “infancy”; because the fact of there being a guardian, whose duty it is to furnish all necessaries for the support of the ward, shows that it was not necessary for the infant to contract. To allow him to do so, would defeat the provision which forbids guardians to exceed the income of their wards, and in fact, would put the ward beyond the control of his guardian. It is stated in this case that the guardian assumed no control over the defendant. That does not prove that it was not his duty to do so. But if an infant may contract for timber, build houses, and stock his farm with horses, cattle, &c., it is idle to talk about the control of his guardian. The fate of this defendant (for we see from the record, that this action was commenced against him by attachment, as an absconding debtor,) proves the wisdom of the law and the need infants have of its protection.

PER CURIAM.

Venire de novo.

State v. Freeman.

STATE vs. RACHEL FREEMAN.

Where evidence of facts not pertinent to the issue, was admitted, upon the

assurance of the prosecuting officer, that he would introduce other facts and circumstances to connect the prisoner with the facts deposed to, and no such connecting facts were produced, it was error in the Court to leave such evidence to be considered by the jury.

INDICTMENT for Arson, tried before his Honor, Judge Dick, at the Fall Term, 1856, of Cumberland Superior Court.

This case is sufficiently stated in the opinion of the Court.
Bailey, (Attorney General) for the State.
Dirgan, for the defendant.

Nasi, C. J. The prisoner is entitled to have her case submitted to another jury. The indictment is for burning the dwelling-house of Abraham Whitfield. She is a free woman of color, and the indented servant of Mr. Whitfield. The case is silent as to any direct evidence of the prisoner's guilt. To show that she was guilty, the prosecuting officer offered to prove that two previous attempts had been made to burn the same house ; one about the middle of January preceding the actual burning, and the other, on the night of the 24th of February, the day previous thereto. The introduction of this eridence was objected to by the counsel of the prisoner. The prosecuting officer then stated that “he expected to prove facts and circumstances, tending to show, that the prisoner was the person who made the attempts each time." Upon this statement the evidence was admitted. Stript of the proinise made by the State, to connect the prisoner with the attempts, there can be no doubt that the proof of them was inadmissible. See Bottoms v. Kent, 3 Jones' Rep. 15t. Indeed, the connecting facts were the sole grounds upon which his Honor would have admitted the proof of the attempts. They were in the nature of a condition precedent. What are the facts upon which the State relied to connect the prisoner with them? Simply, that she was a servant in the family at

State v. Freeman.

the time the attempt was made. We are considering the case as it appears before us. Mrs. Whitfield, the wife of Mr. Whitfield, stated that the prisoner was employed by her as a house servant, and that there was another servant girl by the name of Lavinia, whose duty it was to make up the bed in her room, and to sweep out the house, and after that was done, it was the duty of the prisoner to dust the furniture in the room, &c. About 10 o'clock, on the morning of the day when the first attempt was made, which was about the middle of January, while sitting in the usual sitting-room on the first floor, her bed-room being in the second story, she smelt something burning, and upon going into the passage, she found smoke issuing from the upper story and coming down the stairway. The prisoner was then standing on the piazza, near the door, and apparently looking up the street. She then describes where she found the fire. What was there in this statement to connect the prisoner with the attempt? Nothing but the simple fact, that she was a member of the family, and not the only one of the servants who had access to the room. Certainly, there was not more to connect her than to connect Lavinia with it.

Let us see if there is any thing in the case connecting the prisoner with the second attempt, made on the 24th of February. The same witness states that she and her husband were in the sitting-rooin, the prisoner also being there; she was sent into the back yard for some purpose, and on returning into the house, said she had seen a man in the yard. After a short time, the prisoner asked her and her husband if they did not smell smoke. She and her husband went immediately into the yard, the prisoner following; when they got ont, they smelt something burning, but saw no fire. After looking about for some time, the prisoner remarked that it could not be in aunt Bella's room, for she had locked her door in the morning and gone away, and had not returned. Her master remarked, he thought it was in Bella's room, and started to go there, when the prisoner ran by him to the room, pulled open a window, and immediately exclaimed, “here is the fire."

State v. Burk.

We would again ask, what is there in this statement to show any complicity of the prisoner in this second attempt? She went into the back yard at the command of her master; is the first to draw the attention of her master and mistress to the smell of fire; the first to mention Bella's room, and the first to discover the fire while they were looking for it in vain.

In' admitting the evidence of these previous attempts, under the circumstances, his IIonor acted rightly, but the State did not redeem its pledge, and the evidence ought to have been withdrawn by the Court from the attention of the jury-certainly as to one of the attempts, if not as to both. On the contrary, by suffering the jury to consider it, his Honor added to it the weight of his authority, and thereby suffered them to he misled by such irrelevant testimony. For this error, we think the prisoner is entitled to have her case submitted to another jury.

PER CURIAM.

Judgment reversed:

STATE vs. HENRY BURK.

To constitute the offence of harboring a runaway slave, it is not necessary

that, at the time of first receiving the slave, the defendant conceived the purpose of fraudulently harboring, if his acts afterwards plainly evinced

such a purpose.

This was an INDICTMENT for harboring a runaway slave, tried before his Honor, Judge BAILEY, at the Fall Term, 1856, of Chowan Superior Court.

On the trial below, it was in evidence, that the slave in question had run away from his master's service on Saturday, and that on Monday, Mr. Small, the owner, proceeded, after night, to the house of the defendant, and knocked several times without any response; that he then threatened to break the door, when the defendant got up from his bed and opened

State v. Burk.

it. He asked the defendant, who were there; to which he answered, no one but himself, his wife and her sister. On this, the witness searched the house and found his slave under the defendant's bed. He asked him why he had his boy harbored, when he knew he was runaway; he answered that the boy had come to him that night, and asked him to let him stay there till morning, when he was going to give himself up to his master. There was no other material evidence.

His Honor charged the jury, that to convict the prisoner upon the count for harboring, it must be proved, to their satisfaction, that the slave was runaway, and that the defendant knew it at the time of the alleged harboring.

The defendant's counsel requested the Court to instruct them further, that if the defendant, when he admitted the slave to his house for the night, believed that he intended to return to his master in the morning, it was not a fraudulent harboring under the statute.

This instruction the Court refused to give; whereupon the defendant excepted.

Verdict and judgment for the State. Appeal.

Bailey, (Attorney General) for the State.
Ileath, for the defendant.

BATTLE. J. The charge given by his Honor, to the jury, as to the testimony necessary to be shown to prove the defendant's guilt was correct, and we do not understand that any objection is made to it. It assumes the propriety of the construction of the statute in relation to the harboring of runaway slaves, (Rev. Code ch. 34, sec. 81,) which was adopted by the Court in Dark v. Marsh, 2 Car. L. Repos. 219, and followed in Thomas v. Alexander, 2 Dev. and Bat. Rep. 385. But the counsel for the defendant contends that his Honor ought to have instructed the jury, that if the defendant, at the time when the slave came to his house, believed that he intended to return to his master the next morning, he was not guilty of the offence of harboring him. Such an instruction would

« 이전계속 »