Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1905 > December 1905 Decisions > G.R. No. 2273 December 13, 1905 - UNITED STATES v. FRANCIS J. BERRY

005 Phil 409:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. 2273. December 13, 1905. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Complainant-Appellee, v. FRANCIS J. BERRY, Defendant-Appellant.

W.A. Kincaid, for Appellant.

Solicitor-General Araneta, for Appellee.

SYLLABUS


1. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; COMPLAINT; CRIMINAL LAW; FRUSTRATED OFFENSE OR ATTEMPT. — Where a complaint does not in terms allege a frustrated offense or an attempt to commit the same, it must be presumed that it charges a consummated offense, and, as a general rule, the penalty to be imposed shall be that which the law prescribes for the consummated offense. (Art. 63 of the Penal Code.)

2. CRIMINAL LAW; FRUSTRATED OFFENSE OR ATTEMPT; REDUCTION OF PENALTY. — The reduction of the penalty to be imposed upon those guilty of a frustrated offense or of an attempt to commit the same is especially provided for in article 65 and 66 of the Penal Code.

3. JUDGMENT; COMPLAINT. — The fact that the definition and classification of a crime as stated by the trial court in its judgment differs from that set out and alleged in the complaint does not affect or modify the nature of the complaint so as to deprive the Supreme Court of the right to consider, upon a review of the case on appeal, the facts disclosed by the record, and classify the offense in accordance with the complaint and not with the judgment of the trial court.

4. ID.; GUILT OF ACCUSED; ACQUITTAL. — Where the trial court in its judgment declares that the defendant is guilty and sentence him, even for a frustrated offense or for an attempt to commit the same, and not for the actual commission thereof, it can not be presumed that the accused was acquitted of a consummated offense.

5. CRIMINAL LIABILITY; RIGHTS OF ACCUSED. — A person who commits a crime must be presumed to have knowingly and voluntarily incurred the punishment prescribed by law, and the enforcement and application of the provisions, rules, and penalties provided for by the Penal Code in such case does not constitute a trespass upon his rights.


D E C I S I O N


TORRES, J. :


It appears from the record in this case and from the motion by counsel for defendant that Francis J. Berry and another were charged in the same complaint with the crime of estafa, by fraudulently inducing one Cornelio Finohermoso to execute a deed of transfer of a tract of land planted with cocoanut trees, and that the defendant, having been duly arraigned, pleaded not guilty.

When a complaint does not in terms charge the defendant with a frustrated offense or with an attempt to commit the same it must be presumed that it alleges a consummated offense. As a general rule, the penalty to be imposed shall be that prescribed for the consummated crime. The reduction of the penalties to be imposed upon those guilty of a frustrated offense or of an attempt to commit the same is especially provided for in articles 63, 65, and 66 of the Penal Code.

The complaint in this case does not allege a frustrated offense or an attempt to commit the same. It must therefore be presumed that the defendant, Francis J. Berry, was charged with the crime of consummated estafa. This rule applies to all complaints drawn in a similar form.

The trial court found the defendant guilty of frustrated estafa. This finding of the court below does not, however affect the nature of the complaint. Upon a review of the case on appeal we held with the Solicitor-General that the defendant was guilty of consummated estafa. (See the decision ante.)

The judgment of the lower court does not contain a word or a finding which could be construed as an acquittal. The defendant can not therefore allege that he was once in jeopardy.

If a trial court finds, against the contention of the public prosecutor, that the defendant is guilty of a frustrated offense and sentences him accordingly, this action on the part of the court can not be construed as an acquittal at all. The court in such a case merely punishes the defendant for a frustrated and not for a consummated offense, but in either case the defendant is found guilty.

This court, following the theory of the Penal Code, held that the judgment of the trial court in this case was erroneous, reversed the same, convicted the defendant of consummated estafa, and sentenced him accordingly.

So long as the present Penal Code is in force the judgments rendered by the various courts of these Islands must be in strict accordance with the provisions and rules contained therein, and in case of any violation of such rules and provisions it will be the duty of this court to enforce the law by reversing the judgment of the trial court and imposing upon the accused such penalty as the facts and circumstances of each particular case may require. The enforcement of the law, and its proper and just application, does not constitute a trespass upon the rights of a defendant who by the willful commission of the offense has incurred the punishment prescribed by the penal law.

For the foregoing reasons and for those contained in the opinion rendered by this court upon the merits of the case, the exception of the defendant thereto is hereby disallowed and his motion for a rehearing upon said decision is denied.

Johnson, Carson, and Willard, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. Original case p. 370, supra.




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