2 U.S. 228 (1795)

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U.S. Supreme Court

RESPUBLICA v. HONEYMAN, 2 U.S. 228 (1795)

2 U.S. 228 (Dall.)


Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

April Term, 1795

This was a writ of error to remove the proceedings in the case of a conviction for murder, at a Court of Oyer and Terminer, and general goal delivery, held in Allegheny County. On the return of the Record the defendant assigned the General Errors, and the Attorney General replied, in nullo est erratum. The indictment was set forth in the following words:

    'Allegheny County, ss.'

The grand inquest for the County of Allegheny aforesaid, upon their oaths, and solemn affirmations, respectively, do present that James Honeyman late of the Town of Pittsburg, in the County of Allegheny, labourer, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil, on the Twenty-Third Day of November in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety- Three, at the Town of Pittsburg, in the County aforesaid, in and upon one Benjamin Askins, in the peace of God, and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, then and there being, feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought, did make an assault; and that the said James Honeyman, with both the hands and feet of him the said James Honeyman, in and upon the body of him the said Benjamin Askins, did strike, kick and bruise, and knock to the ground; giving to the said Benjamin Askins, then and there, with the hands and feet of him, the said James Honeyman, by the striking, kicking and knocking to the ground of the said Benjamin Askins, several mortal bruises, of which mortal bruises the aforesaid Benjamin Askins, then and there, instantly died; and so the jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths and solemn affirmations aforesaid, respectively, do say that the said James Honeyman, the said Benjamin Askins, then and there, in manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought, did kill and murder, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, &c.'

Dallas, for the defendant, made two exceptions: 1st. That the indictment does not state the grand inquest to be held 'in and for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;' but only for the County of Allegheny, which may be out of the jurisdiction of the State; and, 2nd. That, although the assault is stated to have

Page 2 U.S. 228, 229

been done feloniously, &c. yet the technical and essential epithess are not applied to the striking, kicking, bruising and knocking, which must have been the efficient cause of the death of the person killed, and not the assault.

The Attorney General, Ingersoll, observed, that he did not consider the first exception material; but he declined any argument on the subject, as he was convinced the second exception must be fatal.

By the Court: Let the judgment be reversed.*


[Footnote *] This indictment was tried shortly before the act passed (3 Vol. p. . Dall. Edit.) by which the crime was divided into murder of the first degree, punishable by death; and murder of the second degree, punishable by imprisonment at hard labour. From the facts reported by the Judge, who presided on the trial, Honeyman's offence would clearly have fallen under the latter division.

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