Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Lauglin case brief

State v. Lauglin case brief summary
53 N.C. 354 (1861)

A jury in the Robeson Superior Court (North Carolina) convicted defendant of feloniously, wilfully, and maliciously setting fire to and burning a certain barn that had corn in it. He appealed, raising an issue of whether the superior court had correctly instructed the jury and whether burning a barn with corn in it was the same act as burning a crib of corn.

The evidence established that defendant wilfully and maliciously set fire to a stable or barn that had fodder in it and that a crib of corn, which stood within 26 feet of the stable, was also consumed in part. The superior court charged the jurors that if they found that the fire in the stable was likely to have been communicated to the crib of corn, or if the burning of the crib was a reasonable probability, they had to find defendant guilty.

  • On review, the court concluded that the burning of a crib with corn in it was a different offence from the burning of a barn with corn in it. 
  • Further, the court ruled that when a defendant was charged with burning a crib with corn in it, he was not properly convicted of that offense when the evidence showed that he had burned a barn with corn in it. 
  • Moreover, the court pointed out that the burning of a crib, even when it contained corn or grain, was not a felony. 
  • Finally, the court stated that it was for the legislature to decide whether a crib that contained grain or corn was entitled to the protection that § 2 of the 34th chapter of the Revised Code (North Carolina) gave to barns under similar circumstances.

The court reversed the judgment of conviction.

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