Raub v. Carpenter - 187 U.S. 159 (1902)


U.S. Supreme Court

Raub v. Carpenter, 187 U.S. 159 (1902)

Raub v. Carpenter

No. 64

Argued November 3-4, 1902

Decided December 1, 1902

187 U.S. 159

Syllabus

At a special term for orphans' court business, the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia admitted a will and codicil to probate, to which the plaintiffs in error (caveators below) filed their caveat; issues as to mental capacity, fraud, coercion and undue influence were framed for trial by jury; on the trial, a witness, who was a physician and a relative of deceased, after testifying in regard to certain facts as to health, actions of deceased, cause of death and results of an autopsy, was asked,

"Doctor, have you formed any opinion from your uncle's general condition of health and the conditions disclosed by his brain at this investigation, and from all you know about him yourself, what his condition of mind was?"

The trial court sustained the objection taken by the caveators to the words in italics on the ground that no sufficient basis had been laid for that portion of the evidence, and that the facts relied upon in this particular should be first adduced. Held that the exclusion was not error.

After the decree, caveators moved to vacate on the ground that one of the jurors was incompetent propter delictum for service, but the trial court denied the motion, the record stating that the court was of the opinion that at the trial there was no evidence of mental incompetency, fraud, or undue influence. Held that the verdict and judgment were not absolutely void, and that it was within the discretion of the trial court to grant or deny the motion, and as no other verdict could have been rendered consistently with the facts, the presence of the juror objected to could not have operated to the prejudice of the plaintiffs in error, and as there was nothing to show that injustice was done to them, the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

Wassum v. Feeney, 121 Mass. 93, cited in Kohl v. Lehlback, 160 U. S. 293, 160 U. S. 301, followed, and Garrett v. Weinberg, 54 S.C. 127, distinguished.

The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.

Page 187 U. S. 160



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