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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
STOCKS v. THE STATE.
44279.
Receiving stolen goods. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Holt.
DEEN, Judge.
1. Recent possession of stolen goods not explained to the jury's satisfaction and accompanied by contradictory statements on the part of the defendant as to the origin of his possession will support a conviction for larceny.
2. Testimony that the defendant has been seen in the company of a person not an accessory, co-indictee, or witness in the case will not serve as a basis of proving the bad character of such third party, nor, in any event, can such character be proved by certified indictments with convictions or pleas of guilty thereon referring to crimes unconnected with that for which the defendant is on trial.
The defendant Stocks was convicted on three counts of larceny of: a 1962 Chevrolet belonging to John Matthews stolen on June 9 and sold by Stocks to Burnett Discount Co. on June 13; a 1962 Chevrolet belonging to Walter McDonald stolen on June 26 and sold by the defendant to C. & W. Motor Co. on July 8, and a 1965 Chevrolet pick-up truck belonging to James Bryson stolen on August 2 and sold by the defendant in August to Cole, owner of a used car lot in Duluth, Ga. He first attempted to sell the McDonald and Bryson vehicles without license tags, and was arrested as a result of his attempts to obtain certificates of title from the State Department of Revenue. There was testimony by arresting officers as to contradictory statements made by him as to the source from which he had acquired the various vehicles.
1. Recent possession of stolen goods unexplained to the satisfaction of the jury and especially when accompanied by false statements as to the person from whom received, authorizes a conviction of larceny. Scott v. State, 119 Ga. 425 (46 SE 637). Each count of this indictment was supported by evidence.
2. The State tendered in evidence over objection convictions of one Fred Wyatt for the following offenses: misdemeanor, 1956; robbery, 1956; larceny of automobile, 1956; robbery, 1967. Wyatt was neither a co-indictee nor a witness in the case but remains a shadowy figure on the periphery of the investigation. The previous convictions of the absent Wyatt were utterly extraneous to any issue in the defendant's trial, and their admission was error.
3. There are a number of other enumerations of error, some of which have been abandoned, some on alleged incorrect instructions as to which no exception was taken and which the court does not believe sufficiently material to consider in the absence of objection; some to which page references are not supplied so that they may be properly identified, and others, including the motions for mistrial, which are not likely to recur. in connection with the grounds dealing with the testimony of witnesses as to photographs exhibited to them see Shelton v. State, 111 Ga. App. 351, 353 (141 SE2d 776) and Cooper v. State, 182 Ga. 42 (184 SE 716, 104 ALR 1309).
DEEN, Judge, concurring specially.
The following having been omitted from the opinion as originally written at the request of my brethren, but it being my opinion that the factual content is necessary to a complete understanding of the decision, I reproduce it here:
(a) " 'Now, to prove in a criminal case that the defendant is a person of criminal bent of mind is not without probative value on the issue as to whether he committed the particular crime involved; for criminals are more likely to commit new crimes than are persons free from the taint of previous criminality. To prove that the defendant had committed other offenses would naturally cause the jury more readily to believe that the defendant committed the particular offense in question; and this from a logical standpoint would not be a misuse of the testimony. The real misuse is likely to come about . . . by reason of the danger of the jury's convicting the defendant "on general principles" as the common saying is, instead of determining his guilt of the specific offense for which he stands charged.' Lee v. State, 8 Ga. App. 413 (2), 416 (69 SE 310). A fortiori, to instruct the jury that such evidence is admitted for the sole purpose of showing intent or bent of mind is error where the evidence shows no more than a criminal disposition on the part of the defendant. The rule is that before evidence of another criminal act is admissible for the purpose of showing intent there must be some logical connection between the crimes so that proof of one tends to prove the existence of the other and 'the appellate courts are without power to repeal it or destroy it by chiseling it away." Bacon v. State, 209 Ga. 261 263-264 (71 SE2d 615). There was evidence that the defendant offered both the truck and another vehicle for sale at the same time, and that when he attempted to obtain title registration the serial numbers of the vehicles were transposed. The court charged: 'Evidence of the defendant's conduct with reference to . . . similar transactions about the same time is admissible for the consideration of the jury insofar only as it might tend to illustrate the defendant's state of mind on the subject involved, if you think it does so illustrate. . . If you believe that the defendant had had similar transactions you will bear in mind that in considering such evidence you are considering it solely with reference to the mental state or intent of the defendant insofar as the same illustrates the charges embraced in this bill of indictment.' This evidence was relevant insofar as it bore on the defendant's difficulties in obtaining title registration which eventually led to his arrest but it was not admissible for the purpose of showing the defendant's larcenous state of mind and should not have been considered for that purpose.
Lewis R. Slaton, District Attorney, J. Melvin England, Tony H. Hight, for appellee.
Margaret Hopkins, for appellant.
ARGUED FEBRUARY 4, 1969 -- DECIDED JUNE 20, 1969.
Friday May 22 18:05 EDT


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