State v. Ochoa case brief summary
72 P.2d 609 (N.M. 1937)
Defendants appealed from a decision of
the District Court, San Juan County (New Mexico), which convicted
them of murder in the second degree.
CASE FACTS A crowd gathered at the office of the
justice of peace in an effort to free a prisoner who was there for a
hearing. When the sheriff and his deputies attempted to return the
prisoner to jail, gunfire was exchanged, and the sheriff was killed.
Ten men were charged with the crime; seven were acquitted, and three
were convicted of second-degree murder.
On appeal, the court affirmed
in part, reversed in part, and held that:
(1) as to one of the
defendants, no evidence sufficiently connected him with the unlawful
design of the sheriff's slayer, and, therefore, no evidence supported
his conviction of second-degree murder as an aider and abettor;
the other two defendants were involved in an assault on a deputy,
which was sufficient to show that they shared the intent of the
slayer, and aided and abetted him in his unlawful undertaking;
was not error for the district court to refuse to grant defendants'
motions for severance;
(4) there were no errors in the instructions
given to the jury; and
(5) the complaint, as supplemented by the bill
of particulars, was sufficient to inform defendants of the exact
nature of the charges against them.
CONCLUSION The court reversed the second-degree
murder conviction of the defendant who was not connected with the
sheriff's slayer. The court affirmed the second-degree murder
convictions of the two defendants who were involved in an assault on
a deputy when the sheriff was killed.
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