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State v. Lee

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 3, 1939

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellant,
v.
JIM LEE, Respondent

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Santa Cruz. Elbert R. Thurman, Judge. Judgment reversed and cause remanded with instructions.

Mr. Joe Conway, Attorney General of Arizona, and Mr. W. E. Polley, his Assistant, for Appellant.

Mr. Duane Bird and Mr. Thomas L. Hall, for Respondent.

OPINION

[53 Ariz. 296] LOCKWOOD, J.

Jim Lee, hereinafter called respondent, was informed against by the county attorney of Santa Cruz county for the crime of "hit and run driving". The information, so far as material for a consideration of this case, reads as follows:

"The said Jim Lee . . . (was) then and there driving a certain vehicle, to-wit, a certain Ford coupe, upon a public highway, . . . at which time and place one Charles Brown was also driving a certain vehicle, towit, a certain Buick coupe, which was occupied by said Charles Brown and one Mrs. C. L. Brown, on said highway; that said vehicle so driven by said Jim Lee did then and there collide with said vehicle so driven by said Charles Brown and the said Jim Lee, after said collision, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly fail to stop and fail to give his name and address or the registration number of said Ford coupe to the said Charles Brown and the said Mrs. C. L. Brown or either of them, . . . ."

Thereupon a demurrer was filed to the information, which raised the following objections thereto:

"I. The information does not reveal which of the vehicles involved struck the other, which of the drivers [53 Ariz. 297] was at fault, nor that the defendant had any knowledge whatsoever of the alleged collision.

"II. It appears from such information that the defendant is charged with hit and run driving, a violation of a duty to stop in event of accident, of the commission of two felonies and possibly one misdemeanor.

"III. 1. There is no such crime in the State of Arizona known as 'hit and run driving.'

"2. Said information is fatally defective because of its failure to allege defendant's knowledge that a collision had taken place.

"3. Section 1608 of the Revised Code of Arizona, 1928, is unconstitutional because it compels an accused to give evidence against himself, because it is so indefinite and so severe that it violates the principles of natural law and right and hence is in excess of the legislative power, and because it stands upon equal footing with another statute of the State which makes the identical offense a misdemeanor."

Page 997

The trial court sustained the demurrer, and dismissed and set aside the information, ...


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