From Casetext: Smarter Legal Research

People v. Wee

Supreme Court of California
Apr 1, 1874
48 Cal. 236 (Cal. 1874)

Summary

In People v. Ah Wee, 48 Cal. 236, 238, the court held that while in a capital case each side is entitled to have two counsel address the jury, the court could in its discretion permit as many counsel as it deemed proper to argue in behalf of either the prosecution or a defendant.

Summary of this case from People v. Darling

Opinion

         Appeal from the District Court, Sixth Judicial District, County of Sacramento.

         The defendant was indicted jointly with Ah Wee and Ah Moy, for having murdered Ah Quong, at the city of Sacramento, on the 1st day of March, 1873.

         Ah Quong was shot and also injured with a hatchet, and was immediately carried into a room. Ah Quong and Ah Wee were Chinamen. After Ah Quong had been carried into the room, and when he was at the point of death, several white persons came into the room, and several Chinamen, among whom was Ah Wee. Ah Wee and Ah Quong could speak English. One of the witnesses, a white man, asked Ah Quong in English who shot him. Ah Quong answered in English that Ah Wee shot him. This fact was proved by white men who did not understand Chinese. A short time after this declaration of Ah Quong, made in the presence of Ah Wee, Ah Wee spoke in Chinese. A Chinaman who was present and understood Chinese well, and a little of English, was called as a witness, and stated that Ah Wee said when he spoke in Chinese, " I am not Ah Wee." The Court permitted the testimony to be given under the objection of the defendant.

         COUNSEL

          Jo. Hamilton and J. C. Goods, for the Appellant.

         Attorney-General Love and S. Solon Holl, for the People.


         JUDGES: Niles, J.

         OPINION

          NILES, Judge

         The defendant, having been indicted for the crime of murder, and convicted of murder in the second degree, appeals from the judgment and from the order overruling his motion for a new trial. The bill of exceptions presents many points, of which we shall consider only those urged by the counsel for the defendant in their brief.          1. The evidence of the declaration of the deceased, Ah Quong, made in the presence and hearing of the defendant, and of the defendant's reply, was properly admitted. Both were Chinamen, and both understood the English language. The declaration of the deceased, that Ah Wee shot him, was made in English, and in reply to a question addressed to him in that language, and was testified to by several by-standers. The answer of the defendant that he was " not Ah Wee," was given in Chinese, and was testified to by a Chinaman who understood both languages. It is evident that the admission of this testimony was not liable to the dangers suggested in the case of People v. Gelabert (39 Cal. 664). In that case the confession of the prisoner was made in a language which the witness did not understand sufficiently to enable him to testify to all that was said, and the part not understood might have explained the apparent contradictions of his declarations as testified to. But here the evidence sufficiently showed that the deceased and the defendant understood each other, and that the declarations of each were correctly and fully stated, although by different witnesses.

         2. At the close of the testimony the Court, against the objection of the defendant, permitted three counsel for the prosecution to address the jury. The defendant had but two counsel, who each addressed the jury. No objection is made to the order of the several arguments, but it is urged that it was error to allow more than two arguments upon the part of the People. Section one thousand and ninety-five of the Penal Code provides that " if the indictment be for an offense punishable with death, two counsel on each side may argue the cause to the jury. If it is for any other offense, the Court may, in its discretion, restrict the argument to one counsel on each side." As we construe this section, its object was to give to both the prosecution and the defense, in a capital case, the right to have the case presented to the jury by at least two counsel; and to distinguish the case in this respect from the inferior grades of crime in which the argument may, in the discretion of the Court, be restricted to one counsel on each side. But it was not intended to limit the power of the Court in any criminal case to allow as many counsel as in its discretion should seem proper, to address the jury, whether upon the part of the people or of the defendant.

         3. It is claimed that the Court erred in its charge in omitting to instruct the jury in reference to the law of manslaughter. The entire evidence is not before us, and there is nothing in the evidence presented tending to show that such an instruction would have been applicable. Moreover, a specific instruction upon this point should have been asked by the counsel for the defendant, if they deemed it appropriate. (People v. Haun, 44 Cal. 100.)

         4. We do not deem it necessary to review in detail the several instructions asked by the counsel for the defendant and refused by the Court. We discover in none of them any principle of law, correct in itself, and applicable to the case, that is not as well, and usually better, stated in other instructions asked and given.

         Judgment and order affirmed.


Summaries of

People v. Wee

Supreme Court of California
Apr 1, 1874
48 Cal. 236 (Cal. 1874)

In People v. Ah Wee, 48 Cal. 236, 238, the court held that while in a capital case each side is entitled to have two counsel address the jury, the court could in its discretion permit as many counsel as it deemed proper to argue in behalf of either the prosecution or a defendant.

Summary of this case from People v. Darling

In People v. Ah Wee (1874) 48 Cal. 236, the trial court, over objection, permitted three prosecutors to argue the case to the jury.

Summary of this case from People v. Pitts
Case details for

People v. Wee

Case Details

Full title:THE PEOPLE v. AH WEE

Court:Supreme Court of California

Date published: Apr 1, 1874

Citations

48 Cal. 236 (Cal. 1874)

Citing Cases

People v. Pitts

" In People v. Ah Wee (1874) 48 Cal. 236, the trial court, over objection, permitted three prosecutors to…

People v. Smith

[2] There being no instruction requested upon the trait of honesty, the appellant cannot now complain that…