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: 372
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372 WALKER V. THE STATE. [Term of
Opinion of the Court.
judge undertook to tell the jury in this case. The judge also
instructed the jury as to the weight and force of circumstantial
evidence under particular contingencies.
It is contended, that the subsequent charges given to the
jury by the judge, at the instance of defendant's counsel,
effaced the erroneous impression and corrected the error of
these charges. In three charges thus given, it was substan
tially expressed, though each tine in different language, that
if from all the evidence there was a reasonable doubt as to the
presence and participation of Andrew J. Walker in the homi
cide, he should be acquitted.
This did not remove from the minds and consciences of the
jury the bar and limitation imposed upon them by the artificial
rule, that they must be entirely satisfied that Walker could not
possibly have been at Butler's at the time of the homicide before
the evidence of the alibi should be allowed to raise a
reasonable doubt in their minds. The artificial rule as to the
necessary weight of evidence took away the free action of
their minds in forming the doubt from the whole of the evidence.
The minds of the jurors were trammeled with a condition
precedent in the mental process, without which there
could no doubt be allowed to arise in their minds in considering
the whole of the evidence.
There is also no certainty that these additional charges were
calculated to remove the impression made upon the jury by
the opinion of the judge as to the weight of the evidence,
deducible from his assumption of the fact in his charge that
Walker was the person who killed Butler. That opinion of his
still helped the jury to resist the doubt from arising in their
minds, if they were predisposed to resist it; or at any rate, in
proportion to its influence upon them, it tended to prevent the
doubt from arising in their minds, and the support given by it
may have turned the mental scales against the defendant, as
to the reasonable doubt. There are artificial rules of evidence
established by law which restrain the jury from the free use
of the mind in forming a verdict, except on a condition pre
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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/m1/380/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .