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UNITED STATES V. BALL, 163 U. S. 662 (1896)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Ball, 163 U.S. 662 (1896)

United States v. Ball

No. 461

Argued March 2, 1896

Decided May 25, 1896

163 U.S. 662


A general verdict of acquittal, in a court having jurisdiction of the cause and of the defendant, upon the issue of not guilty to an indictment undertaking to charge murder, and not objected to before verdict as insufficient in that respect, is a bar to a subsequent indictment against him for the same killing.

A verdict in a case submitted to the jury on Saturday may be received, and the jury discharged, on Sunday.

A defendant in a criminal case who procures a verdict and judgment against him to be set aside by the court may be tried anew upon the same or another indictment for the same offence of which he was convicted.

Whether defendants jointly indicted shall be tried together or separately rests in the sound discretion of the trial court.

After a witness in support of a prosecution has testified, on cross-examination, that he had, at his own expense, employed another attorney to assist the attorney for the government, the question "How much do you pay him?" may be excluded as immaterial.

Upon a trial for murder by shooting, in different parts of the body, with a gun loaded with buckshot, and after the introduction of conflicting evidence upon the question whether a gun found in the defendant's possession would scatter buckshot, it is within the discretion of the court to decline to permit the gun to be taken out and shot off in the presence of a deputy marshal in order to test how it threw such shot.

An indictment for murder which alleges that A, at a certain time and place, by shooting with a loaded gun, inflicted upon the body of B "a mortal wound, of which mortal wound the said B did languish, and, languishing, did then and there instantly die" unequivocally alleges that B died of the mortal wound inflicted by A, and that B died at the time and place at which the mortal wound was inflicted. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 163 U. S. 633

The court is not bound as matter of law to set aide a verdict of guilty in capital case because no special oath was administered to the officer in charge of the jury if he was a deputy marshal who had previously taken the oath of office and no objection to his taking charge of the jury without a new oath was made at any stage of the trial, and the jury were duly cautioned by the court not to separate or to allow any other person to talk with them about the case, and there is nothing tending to show that the jury were exposed to any influence that might interfere with the impartial performance of their duties or prejudice the defendant.

This was an indictment for murder, returned at April term, 1891, of the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Texas. The case is stated in the opinion.

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