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Genealogical Gleanings From
Reports of Cases Determined in the
Supreme Court of Alabama, 1820-1826
In the Circuit Court of Washington county, Moses, a slave was indicted for the murder of Sandford McLendon, his master. The indictment did not charge for that the slain was a free person. The prisoner was found guilty of manslaughter. His council moved an arrest of judgment, that the indictment and verdict do not bring the offense within the statute. The Circuit Court passed judgment of death, but referred to this court the questions of law arising on the motion in arrest of judgment, as noevel and difficult.
Sallee, for the prisoner; the Attorney-General, for the State.
By the Statute of 1914, any slave guilty of the manslaughter of any free person shall, on conviction, suffer death. The indictment here describes the person slain as the “master and owner” of the slave Moses, but does not aver in the language of the statute, that the person slain was a free person.
In capital cases nothing is to be taken by intendment. This offense must be described, at least substantially, as in the words of the statute. We are of opinion that the words of the indictment, “master and owner of him the said Negro slave Moses,” do not necessarily imply a free person; and that the judgment must be arrested and the cause remanded for a new trial.
Source: Henry Minor, Reporter, Reports of Cases Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama From May, 1820, to July, 1826 (Atlanta: 1891), pp. 393-394.
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