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Supreme Court of Arkansas

223 Ark. 330

Alford  v.  State

Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court

No. 4760. --- Delivered: Mar. 15, 1954
Opinion on denial of rehearing delivered: Apr. 26, 1954. 

Court Documents
Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion
  1. RAPE—ACTS OF ACCUSED—EVIDENCE.—Where the prosecutrix testified that after the defendant had revealed his purpose she gave him her watch in the hope of dissuading him, but that he dragged her from the building and raped her which testimony was substantiated by the finding of the watch in defendant's home, by residents in the vicinity who heard the prosecutrix's screams and a physician's findings later in the night that prosecutrix had bruises on many parts of the body and semen within the vaginal tract, the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict of rape.
  2. CRIMINAL LAW—RAPE—INSTRUCTIONS.—Since the option to impose either the death sentence or life imprisonment for rape lies entirely with the jury, the trial court is under the affirmative duty of bringing the matter to the jury's attention, even though that action is not requested by the accused.
  3. CRIMINAL LAW—OTHER OFFENSES.—Proof of other crimes is never admitted when its only relevancy is to show that the prisoner is a man of bad character, addicted to crime.
  4. CRIMINAL LAW—OTHER OFFENSES.—The principle of admitting evidence of other crimes is generally spoken of as being an exception to the general exclusionary rule, yet, as a matter of fact, it is not an exception; for it is not proof of other crimes as crimes that is admitted, but merely evidence of other acts, although they may be crimes, which are from their nature competent as showing knowledge, intent or design.
  5. CRIMINAL LAW—OTHER OFFENSES.—A recent similar offense committed by the accused is not for that reason alone competent evidence against him.
  6. CRIMINAL LAW—OTHER OFFENSES.—If the defendant overpowered his victim and ravished her, his motivation was not open to doubt and the earlier attack upon Mrs. A could have no conceivable pertinence except to brand the defendant as a criminal which is just what the State is not allowed to do.
  7. CRIMINAL LAW—CURING ERROR BY INSTRUCTIONS TO JURY.—On a trial for rape, the prejudice, of incompetent evidence showing a recent similar attack on another person, could not be removed by the instruction of the trial court confining the testimony to the issue of intent.


  1. APPEAL AND ERROR—REHEARING—APPELLATE COURTS—GROUNDS.—Where a case is reversed on appeal because of more than one prejudicial error, it is unnecessary to pass on a petition for rehearing asking leave to amend the record to correct only one error.

Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court; Henry W. Smith, Judge; reversed.

Wiley A. Branton, for appellant.

Tom Gentry, Attorney General, and Thorp Thomas, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

[Opinion of the court by Justice GEORGE ROSE SMITH. Dissenting opinion by Justice ED F. MCFADDIN. Chief Justice GRIFFIN SMITH and Justice MINOR W. MILLWEE dissent without opinion.]


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