Imágenes de páginas

against the people on questions of evidence throughout a trial for murder, whereby a criminal is acquitted, but this court cannot correct such errors. So, too, of the drawing of a panel of jurors in a criminal case; however gross the error, and however fatal to justice the consequences may be, the action cannot be reviewed on behalf of the people. There is no precedent for an allowance of an appeal in criminal cases outside and independent of the statute. We are not prepared to make one in

this case.

Happily, we cannot believe any danger can arise from a willful disregard of the criminal laws, or a corrupt purpose to thwart their due execution by judicial officers. The order in the case under consideration was made at the same time with the one in Fitzpatrick's case. Hence our decision in that case could not have been known to the learned judge or aided in modifying his action in the present instance. Nor can we believe that any judge, after the decision of the Fitzpatrick case, would, on the same facts, disregard that decision, even though that appeal was unauthorized by law. The question may be very easily determined by the court of last resort, as in the Petrea case (92 N. Y. 128), by deciding such motions in accordance with our former opinion, and leaving the defendant to test the correctness of the same.

For the reasons stated we think this appeal must be dismissed.

LEARNED, P. J., and POTTER, J., concur.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The court has discretionary power, in a proper case, to suspend its sen

tence, and jurisdiction is not lost thereby. * Accordingly, where the prisoner pleaded guilty to an indictment for

assault with a deadly weapon, and sentence was suspended during good behavior, and be was allowed to depart without day or recog. nizance for his future appearance, and some years thereafter, an indictment for rape being found against him, he was taken before the court, presided over by the successor in office of the trial judge, and by him sentenced to imprisonment upon the first indictment, Held, that such sentence was properly pronounced, and that the court had not lost jurisdiction of the prisoner or of the case.

Appeal by defendant from an order made by Justice VANN, refusing to discharge the defendant from imprisonment and remanding him to the Onondaga County penitentiary.

On December 10, 1879, in the Onondaga Court of Sessions, defendant was indicted for the crime of assault with a deadly weapon, and apon being arraigned on December 10, 1879, he pleaded not guilty, and on the 30th day of the same month, in the same term, he withdrew his plea of not guilty, and entered one of guilty. The court was then presided over by Judge REIGEL, and sentence was by him suspended during good behavior, and the prisoner allowed to depart from the court. November 23, 1881, he was indicted by the grand jury for the crime of rape. In February, 1883, the prisoner, having been arrested, was taken before a term of said court in which Judge NORTHRUP, county judge, presided, and sentence was moved by the district attorney, on the indictment found in 1879, and the appellant was then and there sentenced "to imprisonment in the Onondaga County penitentiary for the period of two years and six months." On March 20, 1883, his counsel sned out a writ of habeas corpus, alleging the imprisonment,

under.such sentence, to be illegal, and Justice Vann dismissed the writ after hearing argument, and remanded the prisoner.

[ocr errors]

M. Z. Haven, for the prisoner, appellant.—I. The trial court las no power to suspend or delay judgment; it must be given upon conviction, or at least during the term, unless stayed in the manner prescribed by statute. 2 R. S. 736; People v. Morrisette, 20 How. Pr. 118; 1 Chitty Crim. Law, 699; 1 Colby's Crim. Law, 390; 1 Archbold's Crim. Pr. & Pl. 579; 2 R. S. 705, $ 14. Prior to Laws 1863, ch. 226, failure to pronouuce a lawful judgment during the term would compel the prisoner's discharge. This statute gives the appellate court power, upon writ of error, when it shall appear that an errone. ous judgment has been given upon a regular and legal conviction, to remit the record to the trial court, with instructions to pronounce a proper judgment. In this case prisoner was allowed to depart the court without day, or recognizance for his future appearance. To suspend sentence and discharge prisoner is unauthorized and is an erroneous and illegal judgment. The remedy was by writ of error, to which the people were entitled. But time in which to bring error has expired (2 R. S. 594, $ 21), and proper judgment cannot be ordered thereon by the appellate court. Price o. Commonwealth, 33 Grattan's Va. 819; Ec parte Lange, 18 Wall. 163; Commonwealth v. Foster, 122 Mass. 317–323; People v. Griffin, 27 Jun, 595; 2 R. S. 697, § 1; Messner v. People, 45 N. Y. 7; Matter of Ferris, 35 Id. 265; Ratzsky v. People, 29 Id. 121-135; Manke v. People, 74 Id. 415.

II. An indefinite suspension or delay of sentence, unless according to statute, amounts to an abandonment of the action on the part of the people. It is in effect the entry of a nolle prosequi, and being after conviction and before judgment, the defendant cannot be again proceeded against in any manner for the same offense. Weaver v. People, 33 Mich. Supr. Ct. Rep. 296; 1 Bishop's Crim. Proc. & 1394.

III. If the trial court had power to suspend judgment upon terms and conditions, the court as well as the defendant would be bound by them. Judgment was suspended during good behavior. Whether or not the conditions have been violated

cannot rest in the discretion of the court. The indictment charging a subsequent offense, cannot be considered as evidence, and would be incompetent as proof of bad character upon the trial of a criminal action. Brandon v. People, 42 N. Y. 265; Real v. People, 42 Id. 280 ; Connors v. People, 50 Id. 210; People v. Brown, 72 N. Y. 574; People v. Casey, Id. 394; People v. Crapo, 76 Id. 238.


Harrison Hoyt, district attorney, for the people, respondent.—I. “Every court of criminal jurisdiction has the power to respite or suspend for sufficient cause shown, its sentence, after it is pronounced, and before it is executed. And TOTTEN, J., sitting in the Tennessee court, said, “There are many cases, no doubt, where it is necessary and proper to suspend the execution of the final judgment.'

In England, the power to respite may be executed by judges even in vacation; and perhaps the same may be done under the common law of this country.” 1 Bish. Crim. Pro. $ 850. “Sentence may be suspended for various purposes. It may be for the purpose of allowing steps to be taken for a new trial, or other relief, or it may be with a view of letting the offender go without imprisonment.” Weaver v. State, 11 Post, 297, Mich. “The courts of this State have control of their judgments in criminal cases, so far as to suspend the execution thereof, on sufficient reason appearing. And if such suspension be had upon application of defendant, it constitntes no error of which he can take advantage. The courts will be presumed to have exercised such discretion in a proper case. Fults v. State, 2 Sneed, 232. “The

, court will in its discretion respite the execution of so much of the judgment in manslaughter as relates, &c., that the party may be able to avail himself of the constitutional right of pardon." Allen v. State, Mart. & Yerg. 294. “When the de

. fendant pleaded guilty to an indictment, and the prosecuting officer did not move for sentence, and the defendant was permitted to go at large; and at a future day, after several intervening terms of court, the prosecuting officer moved for judgment; it was held that the indietment was still in force; and that the defendant was rightly sentenced upon her plea.” Common

“It appears,

wealth v. Chase, Thatcher's Crim. Cas. 269. therefore, by the record, that public justice has not been satisfied; that no punishment has been inflicted for her violation of the law, in the matter where she stands convicted.

I do not understand a prosecution like this can ever be dead in law.

If it should be said, however, to be hard measure to pronounce judgment after it has been suspended for years, I answer that the party might at any time have appeared in court and demanded the judgment of the law. It had been delayed from tenderness and humanity, and not because it had ceased to be the right of the government to demand it.” Commonwealth v. Chase, supra. “When a prisoner, who has pleaded guilty, has been discharged without receiving sentence, or given an undertaking,

and afterwards violates his undertaking, the court will proceed to pass sentence upon the prisoner.” Reg. v. Ryan, 7 Cox Crim. Cas. 109.

II. People v. Morrisette, 20 How. Pr. 118, is contrary to the above decisions, but it is submitted that the learned judge erred. On contravention to its doctrine, the attention of the court is called to Miller's case, 9 Cow. 730.

III. The custom of suspending sentences after conviction or plea has existed so long that the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. The following cases are cited to show the custom : People v. Reed, grand larceny, 1 City Hall Rec. 4, sen, sus. A.D. 1816; People v. Perkins, grand larceny, Id. 6; sen. sus. A.D. 1816; People v. Johnson, perjury, Id. 21 ; sen. sus. A.D. 1816; People v. Taylor, larceny, Id. 28; sen, sus. A.D. 1816; People v. Mitchell, grand larceny, Id. 41, sen. sus. A.D. 1816.

IV. The fact that the prisoner was convicted before one judge and sentenced by another, his regularly elected, qualified and acting successor, is of no moment.

“ A judge may pronounce sentence upon a prisoner convicted before his predecessor in office.” Pegalow v. State, 20 Wis. 61. The point in 11 Post (Mich.); Weaver v. State, applies only to a temporary judge, sitting during the absence of the regular judge.

V. “The judgment being delayed by mutual consent, the consent takes away all error." Commonwealth v. Chase, Thacher's Crim. Cas. 216. “And if such suspension be had

« AnteriorContinuar »