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Watson rs. McCarthy.

contracting a disease that it is held actionable to impute it. It is the probability of a man's exclusion from society on account of the fear of contagion, which the law recognises as an injury. In leprosy and the plague, no moral guilt could generally be involved. It was not upon the ground of “moral turpitude” that the imputation of these diseases was held actionable. It was not upon the ground of “ moral turpitude" being chargedl, that imputing these diseases was held actionable.

William H. Robinson for the defendant in error.

Mr. Robinson, for defendant in error, maintained, that


words which import the charge of having a contagious disorder, are actionable per se, and that the words in this case import such a charge, and are therefore actionable. 3 Black. Comm. 123; 9 Bac. Abr. 45; 2 Term R. 473; Starkie on Slander, 97–8; Holt on Libel, 221; Bour. Law Dic. Title, Slander; 3 Day R. 312; 13 Mass. R. 252.

Mr. Starkie (see his work on Slander, 97-8,) lays down, that any words which import the charge of having the lues renerea, are actionable, and gonorrhea being the same, as we contend, any words importing the charge of it, involves the same consequences, and are likewise actionable. Coop. Dic. Tit. Gonorrhea and l'enereal; Hooper's Dic. Tit. Syphilis; 2 Eberli's Prac. Med. 491

Whether these discases be the same or not, they are generally understood by mankind as importing the same thing. I'ebster's Dic.; Walker's Dic.; Hoop. Dic. Tit. Syphilis. If the words charged are susceptible of two meanings, or are used in a double sense, the Courts will, after verdict, adopt that sense which will support it. Starkic on Slander, 51–56.

By the Court -- WARNER, J. delivering the opinion.

This was an action on the case, for words alleged to have been spoken, by the defendant in the Court below, of and concerning the plaintiff. On the trial of the cause the jury found a verdict for the plaintiff, for one hundred dollars. The counsel for the defendant in the Court below, made a motion for a new trial, on the ground, "that the words charged in the second count of the plainlift's declaration, do not impute to the plaintiff any such disorder as would tend to exclude him from society, and therefore are not

Watson rs. McCarthy.



per The words alleged to have been spoken by the defendant, in the second count, are—“ You are a clappy d-d son of a bitch, and have been rotten with the clap this two or three years," inuendo, that the plaintiff had the gonorrhea, &c. The Court below overruled the motion for a new trial, and held the words to be actionable per se, whereupon the defendant excepted, and now assigns the decision of the Court below for error in this Court. We are all of the opinion the Court below decided correctly in overruling the defendant's motion for a new trial, on the ground stated in the rule.

To charge one with a disease which would wholly, or par- [1.] tially, exclude him from society, is actionable. Starkie on Slander, 97, 98, 99. Mr. Starkie says, "actions for words of this description, seem, in the absence of special damage, to have been confined to charges of leprosy and lues venerea.

A distinction was attempted to be drawn by the plaintiff in error, between lues venerea and gonorrhea, contending that the latter was of milder character, and a different species of disease. In actions of slander, it will be recollected, words are to be taken in their common acceptation ; in the sense in which those to whom they are addressed understand them.

The disease imputed to the plaintiff by the defendant, no one could fail to understand ; and if he was in the condition which the defendant declared him to have been, we are of the opinion it would partially, if not wholly, exclude him from society; it would most certainly exclude him from all good society. Mr. Starkie, at page 99, after speaking of the charges of leprosy and lues venerea, remarks, “without citing the disgusting string of cases upon this subject with which the older reports abound, it may be deemed sufficient to observe, that whenever it can be collected from the circumstances, that the speaker intended the hearers to understand that the person spoken of, was at the time of speaking, aillicted with either of the disorders above mentioned, an action may be maintained.” — Sterling vs. Adams and wife, 3 Day R. 312.

Let the judgment below be affirmed.

Newsom vs. The State of Georgia.

No. 6.- BENJAMIN F. Newsom, plaintiff in error, rs. The STATE

OF GEORGIA, defendant in error.

[1.] Under the 326th section of the 14th Division of the Penal Code, no entry of nolle

prosequi shall be made, after a case is submitted to a jury, except by the consent of the defendant. A case is submitted when the prisoner has been arraigned — the plea of not guilty filed - and the jury empanelled and swom.

Indictment, and nol. pros. entered. Macon Superior Court. Judge Warren presiding, October Term, 1846.

For the grounds of error, see the opinion of the Supreme Court.

Miller for the plaintiff in error, while submitting his brief, was stopped by the Court.

McCay representing Patterson, Solicitor General for the State.

By the Court - NISBET, J. delivering the opinion.

The plaintiff in error was indicted in the Court below; he was arraigned and plead not guilty, and a jury was impaneled and sworn to try him. The Solicitor General read the indictment to the jury and opened the case to them, and then tendered the warrant by which the accused was arrested, which being upon demurrer rejected, the State having no other testimony, the defendant moved the Court that a verdict of not guilty be entered, which was refused, and the Solicitor General was permitted by the Court to enter a nolle prosequi, and the Jury was discharged.

The plaintiff in error now comes hither, and says the Court erred in refusing the motion for a verdict of acquittal, and also in permitting the bill of indictment to be nol-prosed without the consent of the defendant.

This question is to be determined upon a construction of our own statute. In the 326th section of the 14th Division of the Penal Code, it is enacted, that "no nolle prosequi shall be entered on any bill of indictment after the case has been submitted to a jury, except by the consent of the defendant.” Prince. 661.

[1.] The question is, whether this case was submitted to the jury in the sense of this Act, or not if it was, then the Court erred in permitting the nolle prosequi to be entered, the defendant not consenting. We think it was.

Newsoin ds. The State of Georgia.

We think this statute was intended to restrict the large license which the Crown in England and the State here exercised, as to the right of dismissing prosecutions with a view to re-commencing under more favourable circumstances. Defective testimony, an unfavourable jury, prejudice, passion, almost any circumstance, was, for years in England, seized by the Crown as a pretext for nolprosing indictments; and the subject was harassed, not unfrequently, with many and bitter persecutions; and often, when favourable opportunity offered, convicted, in despite of innocence. Originally we know, in England all the advantages were in favour of the Crown, and all the wrong and oppression upon the subject. Not so now, however; our Legislature has put the rights of the citizen in this regard beyond the caprice, or passion, or corruption of the State. It intended to provide, that when an indictment against a citizen was submitted to a jury, that he should then and there and by that jury be tried. The only thing for us to determine is, what is meant by submitting a case to a jury. , If this case was submitted, then the nolle prosequi could not be entered without the consent of the defendant, and if it could not be so entered, then we hold the defendant had a right to have the case passed upon by the jury, and that the jury, in the absence of all evidence of guilt, would have been compelled to find a verdict of acquittal.

The idea of counsel for the defendant in eror, seems to be this : submission of a case to the jury, is an entire abandonment of it to them, which occurs only when the evidence has been concluded and the court has summed it up and given its charge and sent them out to find the issue. This construction would leave the defendant in a worse condition as to the right of the State to enter the nolle prosequi, than he was in before the statute, for according to this construction, the bill may be nol-prosed at any time before the jury is sent out. If left to a mere verbal criticism, we should say, that submitting is the act of presenting a case to the jury through the pleadings and evidence, and that the submission is as perfect when that process begins as when it concludes. The proceeding in England, upon trials for misdemeanors as well as for higher offences, seems to be as follows — The sheriff having returned into Court the panel of the jury, and the time for trial having arrived, the clerk calls the jury on their panel, enjoining them to answer to their names upon pain and peril that shall fall thereon.” 2 Hale, 293; Bac. Abr. Juries F; 1 Chitty Crim. Law, 432. When

Newsom rs. The State of Georgia.

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this is done the clerk of the arraigns calls upon the prisoner, informing him that the “good men he shall now hear called, are those which are to pass” between himself and the King, and notifying him at the same time, that if he has cause of challenge, he must challenge them “as they come to the book to be sworn, and before they are sworn.” i Chitty Crim. Law, 433.

This is the proper time to exercise the right of challenge, and accordingly now follow the different forms of challenge. When this is gone through with, the jury in the box and sworn— the defendant having previously been arraigned and plead not guilty – the clerk calls to the prisoner and bids him hold up

his hand; he then addresses the jury in these words: “Look upon the pristhat are sworn, and hearken to his cause.

(He then reads the indictment and proceeds as follows:)“Upon this indictment he hath been arraigned, upon this arraignment he pleaded not guilty, and for his trial hath put himself upon God and the country, which country you are; so that your charge is to inquire whether he be guilty of the offence whereof he stands indicted, or not guilty,” &c.

Now, this is what we understand by charging the jury with the case, or submitting the case in charge to the jury. They are thus charged to make inquiry into the truth of a fact alleged on one side, and denied on the other, and all things being ready for the trial, the clerk concludes his charge to the jury with the words “hear your evidence.” 1 Chitty Crim. Law, 452. The crown officer then opens the case with an address to the jury, and the evidence is given. Now, in the judgment of this Court, when a case is giren in charge to a jury in England, it is submitted to a jury in Georgia. Some of the mere formalities of submitting a case in England, are not observed with us; yet the essential steps in the progress to the submission are the same, to wit: the arraignment, plea of not guilty entered, the impaneling and swearing a jury. The formal charge of the clerk to the jury in our practice is omitted. And when these things are done here, to wit : the arraignment, the entering of the plea, the impaneling and swearing — when the jury and the Court are ready to hear the argument of counsel and the evidence, we think the case is submitted. In the case before us, more than this was done, the Solicitor General had opened the case, the indictment had been read and evidence tendered. The case being in our opinion submitied, the Court could not order the bill to be nol-prosed without

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