Valdez v. United States
244 U.S. 432 (1917)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Valdez v. United States, 244 U.S. 432 (1917)

Valdez v. United States

No. 361

Argued April 23, 24, 1917

Decided June 11, 1917

244 U.S. 432

Syllabus

The testimony of an accomplice who turns state's evidence in a murder case is not to be discarded because of his base character, or his oscillating retraction and reiteration of the charge, but must be accorded such weight as is due it when judged by confirming or opposing circumstances, by his character, and the influences which invested him.

In this case, the court, considering evidence on which was based a conviction of murder, concurred in by the court of first instance and the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, holds that the doubts aroused by the character and vacillation of the government's chief witness (who testified that he was hired by the defendant and did the killing under his direction), are not such as to justify a reversal in view of the corroborating evidence, including evidence of a motive on the part of the defendant, and the absence of any doubt that murder was actually done.

A view of the scene of the murder by the trial judge does not deprive the accused of his constitutional right, carried to him by the Philippine Code, to "meet the witnesses face to face" where the view is conducted in the presence and with the consent of his counsel, and no testimony is taken, and no improper remarks are addressed to the judge.

The right of the accused to be present during the inspection may be waived by his counsel; but, even when the right is not waived, his absence will not warrant a reversal if no prejudice resulted.

30 Phil.Rep. 293 affirmed.

Page 244 U. S. 433

The case is stated in the opinion.

Page 244 U. S. 439

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