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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
STAGGERS v. THE STATE.
38164.
Liquor violation. Douglas City Court. Before Judge Waldroup. November 21, 1959.
GARDNER, Presiding Judge.
1. The evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict of guilty.
2. Special grounds 1, 2, 3 and 4 are not meritorious for the reasons set out in the body of the opinion.
L. B. Staggers was convicted in the City Court of Douglas, Coffee County, for possessing more than one quart of alcoholic liquors as defined in Code (Ann.) 58-1011. Coffee County is a dry county and liquor cannot be legally sold therein under the provisions of Code (Ann.) 58-1063. The jury returned a verdict of guilty. The defendant filed a motion for a new trial on the general grounds and thereafter amended the motion so as to add four special grounds. The court overruled the motion for a new trial and it is to this judgment that the case is here for review.
The evidence shows substantially as follows: E. D. Gilliard, Tax Collector of Coffee County, testified as to whether or not L. B. Staggers owned a certain car. Jack Young, a police officer for the City of Douglas, testified that the defendant operated a cafe on Cherry Street in Douglas, Georgia; that the witness saw the defendant about 12 o'clock at night; that the witness and three other officers went to the defendant's place of business to search for whisky and that they found 3 pints and 4 half pints of whisky under the counter, as well as "a bunch of beer"; that the defendant operates a Chevrolet car in which they found 3 pints, 16 half pints of whisky and several cases of beer; that all this was in Coffee County; that the car was parked near the defendant's place of business but that witness did not see the defendant drive that car that day nor for several days previous to that day. Malcolm Hutto, a police officer for the City of Douglas, testified substantially as did the witness Young, but in addition to such testimony, he testified that the defendant admitted that the whisky was his. Newsom Vickers, police officer for the City of Douglas, testified that they did possess a search warrant to search the defendant's place of business. The defendant, in a statement, admitted that the whisky and beer found in his place of business belonged to him, his wife, his brother and one of the girls who worked there; that they were planning a party and the whisky in the car belonged to one Baker and others and that Baker had the keys to the car and opened it in order for the officers to search it; that the defendant did not own the car but had given the car back to Baker.
1. The defendant admitted that the liquor was his. Coffee County is a dry county. It follows that the evidence shows that the defendant was in illegal possession of whisky in a dry county. The evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict of guilty.
2. Special ground 1 assigns error because it is contended that the court erred in admitting certain evidence to the jury, over objections of counsel for the defendant. The evidence pointed out in this special ground concerns ownership of a Chevrolet automobile, in which some of the liquor was found. Irrespective of whether or not the ownership of the car was proved (add we do not concede this point), the liquor found in the defendant's place of business was sufficient to convict him of the crime charged. Therefore, it would not matter whether or not the liquor found in the car belonged to the defendant. This special ground is not meritorious. Moreover, counsel for the defendant did not object to the inadmissibility of the evidence in regard to the ownership of the car at the time such evidence was presented, which omission amounted to a waiver of any objections that he might have urged as to the admissibility of the evidence. This special ground is not meritorious.
3. Special ground 2 assigns error because it is alleged that the court erred in failing to charge the jury, without a request, to the effect that in order for a confession to be admissible it must have been made voluntarily without being induced by another, by the slightest hope of benefit or remotest fear of injury. See Code 38-411. Also that the court should have charged Code 38-420 which provides that an admission shall be scanned with care and confessions of guilt shall be received with great caution, and that a confession alone, uncorroborated by any other evidence, shall not justify a conviction. No timely request was made for such a charge. We cannot agree with counsel for the defendant that such omission to charge is cause for a reversal where there is no request to so charge, even though such testimony was admitted without a prima facie showing of its admissibility and where it was denied by the defendant in his statement. See Keen v. State, 43 Ga. App. 331 (158 S. E. 611) and Story v. State, 145 Ga. 43 (2) (88 S. E. 548). This special ground is not meritorious.
4. Special ground 3 assigns error because it is alleged that the State failed to prove that the defendant, on the alleged occasion, possessed over the maximum legal amount of whisky in Coffee County or anywhere. We believe that the evidence did show conclusively that the defendant did possess more than the legal amount of whisky in Coffee County, a dry county. This special ground is not meritorious.
5. Special ground 4 assigns error because it is alleged that the court erred in failing to require Newsom Vickers, a witness for the State (and a police officer) to divulge the name of the informant, on cross-examination. It seems that counsel for the defendant insists on this ground because he is of the opinion that failing to divulge the identity of the informer left the defendant without information as to whether he was a mere informer or a plant or decoy. It is contended that this violated the defendant's right of cross-examination. Counsel cites in this regard Crosby v. State, 90 Ga. App. 63 (82 S. E. 2d 38). That case is not binding in the case at bar because of the difference in pleadings and facts. The instant case is controlled by Morgan v. State, 211 Ga. 172 (3) (84 S. E. 2d 365), wherein the Supreme Court said: "It was not error for the court, in the cross-examination of a police officer, to refuse to require him to disclose the name of the person who had given the officer information which led to the arrest of the defendant." This special ground is not meritorious.
The court did not err for any of the reasons assigned.
M. L. Preston, Solicitor, contra.
J. Laddie Boatright, for plaintiff in error.
DECIDED APRIL 5, 1960.
Saturday May 23 00:23 EDT


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