Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42. Page: 263
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1875.] BARRAAA v. TnE STATE. 263
Opinion of the Court.
It is not argued here, though it is said in appellant's brief
to have been held below, that as the term accomplice has a defined
meaning in the Penal Code, not extending to one present
at the commission of the crime, and chargeable as principal,
that it is used in that sense in the section of the Code of
Procedure just cited. We think it clear that in the connection
in which it is there used, it embraces a person concerned in
the commission of the crime-any associate in the crime--
whether principal or not. (See Bouvier, Diet., Tit. Accomplice;
It may be added, that if this construction of the statute be
incorrect, the rules of evidence at common law would control
the question, and would lead to substantially the same answer.
Courts have sometimes refused to allow one on whom the
heaviest moral guilt was supposed to rest, to purchase exemption
by giving testimony against a less guilty associate ; but assuredly
the principal, as well as the subordinate offender, is competent
to testify, when admitted to do so, and when so admitted,
his evidence needs corroboration no less at least than that of
a subordinate. (People v. Whipple, 9 Cowan, 707; People v.
Solomon, 2 Barb., 223). But it is argued here that there is no
evidence whatever against 'Lerma, and that the instruction was
It appears, however, that Lerma consented to testify only on
condition that all indictments against him for the " Penescal
" affair " should be dismissed. The representative of the State,
acting of course with the approval of the presiding judge,
agreed to the conditions required by the witness. Such arrangeinents
appear formerly to have been predicated in the assumption
of the guilt of the witness, and on the expectation
that in his testimony lie would admit his own guilt. If he
tailed to testify satisfactorily, he was still liable to prosecution.
The text-books lay down no rules as to when the witness is to
be regarded as an accomplice, because, when admitted to testify
in that characters his guilt was a conceded fact.
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Texas. Supreme Court. Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of Texas, during the latter part of the Tyler term, 1874, and the first part of the Galveston term, 1875. Volume 42., book, 1881; St. Louis, Mo.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28531/m1/271/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .