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State v. Jones.
this is so is shown by the fact, that if, as in this case, the Clerk should suddenly die, it would exonerate the sheriff from making any returns whatever, until another Clerk should be chosen-thereby much loss might be sustained, not only by plaintiffs in execution, but by other suitors. Neither then was the tender to the Clerk, and his refusal to receive the process, a due return by the defendant, nor was his death any excuse.
THE STATE vs. JAMES A. JONES.
An indictment, which charges that "A. B. late, &c., at, &c., with force and
arms, on &c., did publicly curse and swear and take the name of Almighty God in vain, for a long time, to-wit: for the spaco of two hours, to the commou nuisance of all the citizens of the State, and against the peace
and dignity of the State,” cannot be supported. To render the offence of profane swearing indictable, the acts must be so re
peated and so public, as to become an annoyance and inconvenience to tho
public, for then they constitute a public nuisance. It is not sufficient to the conviction of a defendant in such an indictment, that
the State should shew by ils evidence, that the defendant has been guilty of a nuisance ; the indictment must charge it; it must set forth specially the whole fact with such certainty, that the Court may be able to see, judicially, that it rests on sufficient grounds. Nor will it be sufficient, if the indictment charges, that the acts were done "to the common nuisanco of all the good citizens of the State," unless the facts so charged amount
in law to a nuisance. The cases of the Slate v. Ellar, 1 Dev. 207, State v. Deberry, 5 Ire.371,
State v. Waller, 3 Mur. 229, State v. Brown, 3rd Mur. 224, and State v. Baldwin, 1 Dev. of Bat. 195, cited and approved.
Appeal from the Superior Court of Law of Rockingham County, at the Fall Term, 1848, his Honor Judge Calde WELL presiding
Slate v. Jones.
This was an indictment for a common nuisance. It appeared on the trial of this prosecution, that a quarrel took place in Madison, a village of Rockingham, between the defendant and another individual; that the defendant was drinking, and after the quarrel and separation of the parties, he cursed and swore in a loud tone of voice for some time-that he used very profane language, calling the name of Almighty God in vain—that his especial abuse was directed at the individual in question, and his family—that the house of the said individual was situa. ted two hundred yards from where the defendant wasthat the said individual and his family were disturbed thereby—that so loud was the cursing and profane swearing of the defendant, he was heard throughout the said village, and that his conduct was well calculated to disturb the citizens thereof.
The Court charged the Jury, if they believed the witnesses, they ought to convict the defendant. The jury returned a verdict of guilty. The defendant moved for a new trial, because of misdirection, which was refused. Judgment was pronounced and the defendant appealed.
Attorney General, for the State.
Nash, J. The indictment in this case charges, "that James A. Jones, late of, &.c., at &., with force and arms in said County, on the 25th day of March, 1848, did pub, licly curse and swear and take the name of Almighty God in vain, for a long time, to wit: for the space of two hours, to the common nuisance of all the citizens of the State, and against the peace and dignity of the State." The indictment further charged the defendant with going armed with a loaded gun, during the same time. The defendant was convicted.
For single acts of profane swearing, the laws of this
Stale v. Jones.
State have provided a remedy, which is, by the legislative power, deemed adequate to its punishment, to-wit : a fine for each act, to be imposed by a single magistrate, upon conviction before him. Rev. Stat. Ch. 118, Sec. 2. To render the crime indictable, the acts must be so repeated and public, as to become an annoyance and inconvenience to the public, for they then constitute a public nuisance. State v. Ellar, i Dev. 207. State v. De. berry, 5 Ire. 371. The perpetration is, in that case, subject to an indictment. Thus, if a man is an habitual profane swearer and indulges in the vice in public, so as to become an annoyance and inconvenience to the public, in the language of Chief-Justice Taylor in Ellar's case, or to become inconvenient and troublesome, in that of Judge Gaston in Baldwin's case, 1 Dev. & Bat. 197, he commits an offence against the criminal law and is indictable. State v. Waller, 8 Mur. 229. But it is not sufficient to the conviction of the defendant, that the State should show by its evidence that the defendant has been guilty of a nuisance—the indictment must charge it-it must set forth specially the whole fact, with such certainty that the Court may be able to see, judicially, that it rests on sufficient grounds. Nor will it be sufficient, if the bill charges, that the acts were done "to the common nuisance of all the good citizens of the State," unless the acts so charged, in law, amount to a nuisance. This is shown by the authorities, before referred to. In Waller's case, the charge was, that the defendant"was a common, gross, and notorious drunkard," &c, and "on divers other days and times,” &c., "got grossly drunk and committed open and notorious drunkenness." Judgment was arrested, because drunkenness becomes amenable to the municipal law as a crime, only when it is practised openly and in the view of the public, which was not charged in the indictment. The case of Ellar, is a stronger one, and more directly in point. There, the charge was, that
State v. Jones.
the defendant, being an evil disposed person, "did, in the public street of Jefferson, profanely curse and swear and take the name of Almighty God in vain, to the evil example,” &c., and “to the common nuisance of the good citizens of the State." There the judgment was reversed, because the indictment did not charge, that the defendant was a common profane swearer, and did not set forth acts, amounting to a common nuisance. This decision took place in 1837, and has ever since been followed and considered as sound and correct. It has been repeatedly decided by this Court, that profane swearing is not punishable by indictment, in this State, when committed in single acts; but to make it so, it has been intimated by several Judges, it must be perpetrated so publicly and repeatedly, as to become an annoyance and inconvenience to the citizens at large. Stute v. Brown, 3 Mur. 224. Slate v. Buldwin, 1 Dev. & Bat. 195. In the case before us, the indictment does not charge the defendant with be. ing a common and notorious profane swearer. Neither do the acts set forth in themselves imply, necessarily, that they were done in public, so as to be an annoyance to the citizens at large. For any thing appearing on the indictment, in connection with this charge, the cursing and swearing might have been on the public highway, and not in the hearing of any person whatever. We have seen that the word public or publicly, will not sup. ply the averment of the presence of people to be annoyed; for if the act complained of can be considered free from legal guilt, it shall be so considered, until the contrary is made to appear. We consider the act, set forth in the indictment, as coming under the statute punishing profane swearing by a penalty.
The indictment further charges, that the defendant "did then and there go armed with and carry a certain gun, loaded with powder and lead, to the great terror of all
Arrington v. Screws.
the good citizens then and there assembled.” Upon this charge no evidence was given.
The appeal in this case was for error, in the charge of his Honor, the presiding Judge. For the same reason, upon which we have held the indictment insufficient, we must hold the evidence did not establish an indictable offence.
Judgment must, therefore, be reversed and a venire de novo awarded,
Ordered to be certified accordingly.
N. W. ARRINGTON vs. BENJAMIN SCREWS.
A legacy in the hands of an executor, due to a married woman, cannot be
attached for a debt of the husband. It is not his until he reduces it into
possession. Process of attachment operales only on such interests of the debtor, as exist
at the time it is served, and not on such as may afterwards arise. The cases of Gentry v. Wagstaff, 3 Dev. 270, and Flynn v. Williams, 1
Ire. 509, cited and approved.
Appeal from the Superior Court of Law of Nash County, at the Fall Term, 1848, his Honor Judge Dick presiding.
This is an action of debt, commenced by original attachment. The case is this. Peter Arrington, deceased, bequeathed the sum of $300 to each of his grand children, Mary Drake, Adeline Drake, Richard Drake, and Mourn. ing Screws, the wife of the defendant, with the following limitation over: "It is my will, if either of my said grandchildren die without leaving issue, then the property