Barnes v. State

272 S.W. 188 (1925)

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Barnes v. State

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
272 S.W. 188 (1925)

KL

Facts

Will Barnes (defendant), an amateur detective, traveled from his home in Arkansas to Texas. While there, he met a few men he believed were in the habit of committing robberies and burglaries. Barnes learned that they intended to rob Thompson, a man who went to the bank every Saturday to withdraw money to pay his farm workers. Barnes went to police officers to share his findings and informed them that he would go along with the robbers and provide evidence to the police afterward. Barnes also shared his plans with some private citizens. A couple of days later, Barnes traveled with the robbers to find Thompson after his weekly trip to the bank. Barnes mostly observed the robbery but did carry a pistol and, at the lead robber’s request, cut the wires to Thompson’s car so Thompson could not chase after them. Afterward, there was some confusion about Barnes’s role in the crime while the police and prosecutors were investigating, and Barnes was arrested and charged with robbery. At his trial, Barnes asked the judge to instruct the jury to acquit if it found that Barnes did not intend to help the robbers but rather was acting to aid police. The judge refused, instead instructing the jury that Barnes was guilty if he accompanied the robbers and assisted them, making no mention of intent. Barnes was convicted and appealed, arguing he had feigned his participation as an accomplice to help police and should not be held criminally liable.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lattimore, J.)

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