Open main menu

Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 2.djvu/117

This page needs to be proofread.


Evidence — Statute — Prima Facie Evidence. — Under Public Laws of Maine, 1887, ch. 140, providing that the paymant of the United States special liquor tax shall be prima ^ie evidence that the person paying the same is a common seller of intoxicating liquors, it is error to instruct the jury that they must find a person guilty upon proof of such fact alone. Per Walton, J. : ** Prima facie here means only ' presumptive ; ' otherwise, the statute would be uncon- stitutional. The very essence of ' trial by jury ' is the right of each juror to weigh the evidence for himself, and in the exercise of his own reasoning facul- ties determine whether or not the facts involved in the issue are proved.^ State v. Liquors and Vessels^ 12 Atl. Rep. 794 (Me.).

Evidence — Validity oi' Deed — Mental Capacity of Grantor.— In an action to set aside a deed on account of the ^antor's mental incapacity, held^ that the unnatural disposition made of the estate is competent evidence as to such incapacity. Bressey*s Adm'r v. Gross, 7 S. W. Rep. 150 (Ky.).

Highway — Dedication — Estoppel by Non-acceptance. — In z, sale <A land the recitals in the deed and an agreement between the parties constituted a dedication of an adjacent strip of the grantor's land as a public street. The strip was enclosed by fences and occupied bv buildings, and so remained. In a suit by the city, at the end of ten years, to have it declared a street, it was held, that there never having been any act on the part of the city recognizing or accepting such dedication, the city acquired no right to claim the property in controversy for the purposes of a street. City of Galveston v. Williams, 6 S. W. Rep. 860 (Tex.).

Compare Crocket v. City of Boston, 5 Cush. 182, which holds that an offer of dedication is presumed to remain open a reasonable time, and that acceptance within a year and four months is acceptance within a reasonable time.

Husband and Wife — Liability of the Former for the Debts of the Latter. — Money paid by the husband as executor of his wife's estate for her funeral expenses and monument is chargeable asainst her estate; but a physi- cian's bill for attending the wife during her last illness is a personal debt of the husband. Moulton v. Smith, 17 Atl. Rep. 891 (R. I.).

Husband and Wife — Partnership — Separate Estate. — An Arkansas statute constitutes all property owned by a woman before marriage or acquired after marriage, her separate property, which she may sell or assign ; she may carry on. any business and perform any services on her sole and separate account; she alone ma^ be sued therefor, and her separate property subjected to execution. In a Mississippi case involving this statute it was held, there being no Arkansas de- cision on the point, that under this statute a wife can form a valid contract of partnership with her husband. Toofx. Brewer, 3 So. Rep. 571 (Miss.).

The opposite result has been reached in several States having similar statutes. The case reviews the opposing decisions.

Infancy — Negligence — Presumption of Incapacity. — In an action to recover damages for injuries to an infant between seven and eight years of age, a plea setting up the contributory neglisence of the child itself, but not averring the discretionary capacity of tne child, was held bad on demurrer. " A child between seven and fourteen years of age is prima facie incapable of exercising judgment and discretion." Pratt Coal <&• Iron Co. v. Brawley, 3 So. Rep. 555 (Ala.).

Insanity — Burden of Proof. — Indictment for rape. Defence, insanity. Held, that "a defendant who relies upon insanity as an excuse for crime must prove the hct by a preponderance of evidence." Coates v. State, 7 S. W. Rep. 304 (Ark.).

The case is decided on the principle of stare decisis, following Casat v. State, 40 Ark. 511. Compare Guiteais Case, 10 Fed. Rep. 161, which holds that where a defendant in a criminal action has overcome the presumption of sanity by in- troducing evidence tending to show his insanity, the burden is then cast upon the government to establish his sanity beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of introducing evidence is on the defendant, the burden of proof, on the govern- ment.

Insurance — Condition against Reinsurance. — Plaintiff insured with defendant under a condition against further insurance. He then insured in an- other company, with a condition against prior insurance. Held^ that the plaintiff could not set up the voidability of the second insurance, in order to defeat the de- fence of breach of condition. American Ins, Co. v. Replogel, 15 N. E. Rep. 810 (Ind.).

Cases /Ttf and con are collected.