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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
CHADWICK v. THE STATE.
23205.
Armed Robbery. Whitfield Superior Court. Before Judge Pope.
QUILLIAN, Justice.
The errors enumerated in the present case show no ground for reversal and hence the judgment of the trial court must be affirmed.
Charles Chadwick was indicted in Whitfield Superior Court for the offense of armed robbery on January 19, 1965. Counsel was appointed for him on January 19, 1965, and the case came on for trial on January 26, 1965. A motion was made for continuance on the ground that the defendant's counsel had not had sufficient time to prepare the case. The motion was overruled. The defendant petitioned the court to furnish a psychiatrist to examine him and testify for him. The petition was in substance: that the petitioners believe that the defendant was insane at the time of the commission of the alleged offense and is now insane and lacks the mental capacity to understand the nature of the charges against him; that the defendant had previously been sent to Milledgeville State Hospital for observation where he was under the treatment of Dr. Chance, a psychiatrist, who "informed the defendant that he was on the verge of insanity and that when he had alcoholic beverages of any kind, he was temporarily insane." This motion was overruled. The case then proceeded to trial.
The undisputed evidence of the victims of the robbery, a Mr. and Mrs. Crider, was that the defendant gained admission to their home upon the pretext that he desired to use their phone, then proceeded to rob them at gunpoint, stole Mr. Crider's automobile and forced Mrs. Crider to ride with him until, after a wild chase in which the automobile was wrecked and Mrs. Crider injured, the defendant was apprehended. The officers corroborated the victims' testimony concerning the flight and apprehension of the defendant.
The defendant made a voluntary confession of his guilt to the officers. He corroborated the testimony of the victims and the officers and affirmed his confession in his unsworn statement. The part of the statement material to the case was as follows: "I was at my sister's house and this boy came up to the house and asked me to go with him to get something and I went with him, I don't remember leaving there with him, I was supposed to have had some trouble over a gun before I left there, I don't remember that. I do remember we went to a beer joint and drank some beer and as far as going to this place I couldn't leave from right here and go back to it, I just couldn't do it. I don't remember going to the place. I remember I did do this and this I don't deny. But I don't remember how I went there or which road we took or nothing else. There are certain parts of it that I don't remember it myself as I told Mr. Whitfield the night he questioned me, that he might have thought that I was just saying it, but there are certain parts of it I just can't remember myself . . . I am sorry that it happened and it would not have happened if I had not been drinking. I have never done anything in my life if I wasn't drinking I know that. When I am drinking it is a different problem. I am under a conditional release from the State Prison now, I have served a little better than six years of the fifteen. On my conviction here I will have to finish up the remainder of that sentence automatically, and whatever I get here too. I don't think I should be put away for life, because I don't think there is anybody that can say that I can't be rehabilitated with the help of physicians and the psychiatrist."
The jury convicted the defendant and fixed his punishment at life imprisonment. He was sentenced accordingly. In due course he filed an appeal in which he enumerated the errors which are discussed in the opinion.
1. The first assignment of error complains that the defendant's motion for continuance was overruled. The motion was made upon the ground that appointed counsel did not have time to adequately prepare the defense, and the appellant relies upon Saylor v. State, 183 Ga. 440 (188 SE 514), a four-Justice opinion. The case cited is factually different from the case we now consider. In the Saylor case the defendant was an escapee from the State insane asylum and time was needed to procure records of that institution and other evidence touching his sanity. In the present case the application discloses the defendant had, at some undisclosed time in the past, been sent to the State Hospital for observation and was, according to his own statement, informed by a Dr. Chance that he was on the verge of insanity and that when he had alcoholic beverages of any kind, he was temporarily insane.
The motion further shows the defendant was voluntarily intoxicated to some extent when he committed the robbery with which he was charged. In view of these facts the testimony of Dr. Chance would have been of no benefit to him. The motion further alleges the attorneys appointed some seven days before the trial did not have time on account of the press of other business to prepare the law and ascertain the facts of the case. This allegation was disproved, because the preparation of the law of the case was thorough and exhaustive, and the defendant's own statement furnished conclusive proof of his guilt, without showing any reason for its commission except voluntary drunkenness on his part. See in this connection several cases, McCook v. State, 91 Ga. 740 (17 SE 1019); Mullins v. State, 213 Ga. 331 (3) (99 SE2d 117); Edmonds v. State, 201 Ga. 108, 123 (39 SE2d 24); Code 26-403.
2. The second assignment of error is that the trial judge denied the defendant's motion praying that the court appoint a psychiatrist to examine the defendant. Before the motion was passed upon, a plea of insanity previously filed by the defendant was dismissed. The motion disclosed the defendant's mental poise was not questioned except when he was under the influence of intoxicating beverages; that on the occasion of the robbery he had voluntarily consumed a considerable amount of alcohol, although aware that it might affect his reason.
The assignment of error is not meritorious.
3. The third assignment of error is that the trial judge, without request of counsel, should have heard evidence and passed upon the voluntariness of the defendant's confession, before the confession was submitted to the jury. There was no objection made to the confession being passed upon by the jury, no intimation that it was not voluntary, and the defendant in his own statement to the jury made a plenary confession of his guilt, giving as his only excuse for having committed the crime that he was at the time under the influence of intoxicating liquors, voluntarily consumed by him. The undisputed evidence submitted upon the trial of the case authorized a verdict of guilty. This court in the recent case of Britten v. State, 221 Ga. 97, 105 (143 SE2d 176), held: "Since the defendant, in answer to questions propounded to him by one of his attorneys after he had concluded his statement to the jury, admitted that the oral statement and the written admission which he had made to officers Knox and Featherston were freely and voluntarily made, we hold that the trial judge did not err, as contended, in allowing them in evidence; and this is especially true since the court in its charge instructed the jury that it could consider the oral statement and the written admission only if it found that they were freely and voluntarily made by the accused. In the circumstances of this case a ruling different from the one here made is not required by the majority decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in Jackson v. Denno, 378 U. S. 368 (84 SC 1774, 12 LE2d 908), and Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U. S. 478 (84 SC 1758, 12 LE2d 977), since the facts in those cases are materially different from those of the case presently before us for decision. Here, unlike the facts in those cases, the defendant in response to questions propounded to him by one of his attorneys after he had concluded his statement to the jury, freely and voluntarily admitted his involvement in a robbery during the commission of which the homicide of McBride occurred."
Judgment affirmed. All the Justices concur, except Mobley, J., not participating for providential cause.
Robert L. Vining, Jr., Solicitor General, Arthur K. Bolton, Attorney General, Rubye G. Jackson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
James M. Barnes, L. Hugh Kemp, for appellant.
SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 9, 1965 -- DECIDED DECEMBER 6, 1965.
Friday May 22 20:49 EDT


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