Ex parte Lane

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Ex parte Lane
1935 OK CR 169
52 P.2d 1078
58 Okl.Cr. 298
Decided: 12/16/1935
Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals


1. Habeas Corpus -- Inquiry Into Jurisdiction of Court to Render Particular Judgment. The jurisdiction of the court to render a particular judgment and sentence by which a person is imprisoned is a proper subject of inquiry on habeas corpus.

2. Judgment and Sentence -- Jurisdiction to Render Particular Judgment Essential. Jurisdiction to render a particular judgment and sentence is as essential as jurisdiction of the person and subject-matter. If the first does not exist, the sentence is void.

3. Same -- Judgment to Be Based on Verdict Responsive to issues. The judgment of the court must in all cases be based upon the verdict of the jury, and the verdict of the jury must be responsive to the issue joined by the indictment or information and the plea of the person on trial thereto, otherwise the court is without jurisdiction to render judgment thereon.

4. Same -- Court Held Without Jurisdiction to Render Judgment for Grand Larceny. Where an accused is charged with larceny from the person and enters a plea of not guilty and the

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court submits to the jury the special larceny by the appropriation of lost property and the jury finds that accused appropriated found property without stating that the appropriation, is grand larceny or that the found property exceeds a value of $20, the court under such circumstances is without jurisdiction to render judgment against accused for grand larceny.

Application by Frank Lane for a writ of habeas corpus. Writ granted.

Leonard T. May, for petitioner.

Mac Q. Williamson, Atty. Gen., Smith C. Matson, Asst. Atty. Gen., Everett ;S. Collins, Co. Atty., and Luster Cook, Asst. Co. Atty., for the State.

EDWARDS, J. This is an original proceeding in habeas corpus. Petitioner was charged with larceny from the person in the nighttime under section 2260, Okla. Stat. 1931. The court submitted to the jury the larceny of lost property under section 2254, Okla. Stat. 1931, evidently acting on the assumption that a larceny under the latter section was an included offense under the former. The jury returned a verdict as follows: "We, the jury impaneled and sworn in the above entitled cause, do upon our oaths, find the defendant guilty of appropriating the proceeds of lost and found pocketbook, without making effort to find the owner thereof and leave his punishment to the court and recommend leniency." Under this verdict, the court pronounced judgment adjudging petitioner guilty of grand larceny and assessing his punishment at confinement in the state penitentiary for a term of six months.

Petitioner here asserts the court had no jurisdiction to render the particular judgment, that he is entitled to relief by habeas corpus and is not required to seek relief by appeal. It is well settled that the writ of habeas corpus cannot be used to perform the office of a writ of error

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or appeal, but is limited to cases in which the judgment attacked is clearly void, by reason of its having been rendered without jurisdiction or by reason of the court having exceeded its jurisdiction, or where the court having general jurisdiction has no authority to render the particular judgment complained of.

Our statute defines larceny as follows:

"2256. Grand larceny is larceny committed in either of the following cases: First. When the property taken is of value exceeding twenty dollars. Second. When such property, although not of value exceeding twenty dollars in value, is taken from the person of another. Larceny in other cases is petit larceny."

By subdivision 2, ยง 2256, supra, larceny from the person is grand larceny, without regard to the value of the property taken, and this is the offense with which petitioner was charged. Larceny of lost property under section 2254 is a different and special form of larceny, and the degree depends upon the value of the property found and appropriated. It is not an included offense under the provisions of section 2260 and subdivision 2 of section 2256. The charge being a larceny from the person of another in the nighttime, the verdict returned is not responsive to the issue and purports to find petitioner guilty of a crime not within the charge. The judgment of the court also is not responsive and beyond his jurisdiction. The judgment is beyond the jurisdiction of the court for the further reason the verdict which purports to find petitioner guilty of the appropriation of lost property neither specifies that it finds him guilty of grand larceny, nor that the property appropriated was of a value exceeding $20. The passing of a judgment of grand larceny is therefore also an assumption of something which is not in the verdict. The judgment must be based upon the

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verdict of the jury and must be responsive to the issue joined upon the information and plea. Otherwise the court is without jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment. Ex parte Harris, 8 Okla. Cr. 397, 128 Pac. 156; Ex parte Grant, 32 Okla. Cr. 217, 240 Pac. 759.

Without reviewing the authorities, we are of the opinion the court was without jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment complained of, and that petitioner should be discharged from imprisonment thereunder and be remanded to the custody of the sheriff of Creek county for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.