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: 370
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370 WALKER V. THE STATE. [Term of
Opinion of the Court.
bar a trial on the plea of not guilty. The obvious error in the
charge consists in furnishing the jury with an artificial rule
as to the degree in the strength of their conviction (and that
the highest possible degree), concerning the proof of the alibi,
before it should be allowed to have any influence on their
minds in disproving the fact that Walker was the person who
shot and killed Butler; whereas the rule of law is that such
evidence of an alibi should only be of such weight as to produce
upon the minds of the jury a reasonable doubt of the fact
affirmed by the State, that Walker was the man who shot Butler.
Such a doubt might arise in their minds by the evidence
tending to prove the alibi before they had arrived at a moral
certainty as to the truth of the alibi, and if so, that would be
sufficient to render the evidence available to rebut the affirmnative
evidence for the State, without their minds ever having
arrived at a conviction, to the degree of a moral certainty, as
to the truth of the alibi.
For the purpose of correcting the error of this charge, the
defendant's counsel asked the court to charge the jury, " that
"if from the evidence adduced in this cause, there arises in
"your minds a reasonable belief that the accused was else"
where than at the place of the homicide, at the time of its
" commission, then you should acquit him." The refusal of
the judge to give this charge shows clearly that in his opinion
a reasonable belief was not a sufficient degree of conviction of
the truth of the alibi, but that it must fasten upon their minds
to the degree of a moral certainty, or, in his own language, it
must be established to their " entire satisfaction."
Although this charge thus asked may not have furnished
the exact rule upon the subject, it served the purpose of calling
the court's attention to it, and of inviting a reconsideration
and reformation of the erroneous charge.
Another objection to the charge is in the inferential assumption
that Walker was the person who killed Butler, to be
found in several parts of the charge, and especially in the conelusion
of it, which is as follows: " If, therefore, the jury are
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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/m1/378/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .