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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
LEWIS v. THE STATE.
35090.
Larceny after trust. Before Judge Vaughn. DeKalb Superior Court. January 8, 1954.
GARDNER, P. J.
1. As to the general grounds, the evidence authorized the verdict.
2. The jury were authorized to find that there was a specific entrustment, as alleged in the indictment.
The defendant was convicted of larceny after trust under a special presentment. Omitting the formal parts, it charged as follows: "For that the said W. E. Lewis in the county aforesaid, on the 3rd day of Nov., in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-one unlawfully and with force and arms after having been entrusted by Mrs. Lillian M. Davis with the sum of $1,000.00 of the value of $1,000.00 for the purpose of buying and installing toilet, wash basin for bath and tile for the bath and fireplace did thereafter after having been so entrusted fraudulently convert to his own use and otherwise dispose of the said $1,000.00 without the consent of Mrs. Lillie M. Davis the owner thereof and to the injury of the aforesaid Mrs. Lillie M. Davis."
The defendant filed a motion for new trial, which was later amended, and overruled. He assigns error on this judgment. At the trial the evidence for the State developed that Mrs. Lillie M. Davis had a contract with the defendant to construct a house for her. During the progress of the construction, the defendant and Mrs. Davis became at odds concerning the provisions of the contract, extras, etc., and the defendant went to the home of the plaintiff and wanted her to give him the check mentioned in the special presentment for the purpose of doing the specific things mentioned in the indictment. The State's evidence showed, and the jury were authorized to find, that the defendant had, without cause, abandoned the contract in regard to the construction of a house; that, on the day he obtained the check, he stated that he wanted to finish the house and $1.000 would finish it; and that he would finish it within two weeks. The State's evidence was to the effect that the defendant at the time he obtained the check was asked whether or not he owed for any material or labor, and he stated that he did not owe for any material or labor, but had paid for the material and labor as the work progressed, and that he would use the check for the specific purpose mentioned in the special presentment. There is a sharp conflict between the evidence for the State and the defendant's statement, the defendant contending: that Mrs. Davis had refused to pay him as the work progressed, and that he did not make any such agreement with her as is alleged in the indictment; that he received this $1,000 as a full payment on the contract; that he had spent that amount and more for material and labor in the course of the construction of the house; that Mrs. Davis told the defendant that she was out of money and could put up no more money; and that Mrs. Davis still owed him for some of the work and material furnished for the house. The State's evidence showed that it cost Mrs. Davis $1,500 to complete the construction of the house after the defendant had received the $1,000, and further that the defendant never did report or offer to complete the house after he received the $1,000. The State's evidence is to the effect that, at the time the defendant abandoned the job he had received all of the $9,000, the contract price for the construction of the house, less three or four hundred dollars, and he left the construction of the house with $1,500 in work yet to be done at the time he received the $1,000 check.
1. It occurs to us that, under this whole record, there are two main and controlling issues to be determined here: First, did the evidence sustain the verdict as to the general grounds? Second, was the $1,000 check referred to in the special presentment a payment under the general contract, or was it an entrustment as set forth in the special presentment which was drawn under the provisions of Code 26-2809? We have no difficulty in reaching the conclusion that the evidence for the State sustains the special presentment as to the general grounds, and the assignments of error thereon are without merit.
2. We come next to discuss the second proposition, and that has given us considerable concern. It is somewhat related to and interwoven with the general grounds. The contention of the defendant is that the $1,000 was a payment under the general contract; and, since Mrs. Davis had breached the contract herself, he had a lawful right to use the $1,000 to reimburse himself for expenditures which he had made out of his own pocket and for obligations due for labor and material, when she, Mrs. Davis, breached the contract.
We think that the law of this case is contained in Walker v. State, 117 Ga. 260 (1) (43 S. E. 701), wherein the Supreme Court said: "Where one entrusted with money by another fraudulently converts it to his own use, he is guilty of larceny after trust, though he may have fraudulently induced the delegation of the trust with intent to so convert the money."
In the decision of that same case, the court stated: "The evidence submitted upon the trial fully sustained the charges made in the indictment. Counsel for the plaintiff in error contend that it appeared from the evidence that the prosecutor's firm was fraudulently induced by the accused to entrust him with the twenty-five dollars, his intention at the time being to convert the money, after being entrusted with it, to his own use. For this reason they say that he was not guilty of larceny after trust delegated, and, to sustain their contention, cite Wylie v. State, 97 Ga. 207. [Here appears a differentiation between Wylie v. State, and the case decided] . . . Here the accused was entrusted with money for a specific purpose, and the fact that he, by fraudulent representations made to the members of the firm entrusting him with it, may have induced the trust can make no difference. Though he may have lied in order to get the firm to entrust him with the money, still if he was, as the evidence shows, entrusted with it, and then converted it to his own use, he was guilty of the charge made in the indictment."
We think that the facts in the instant case as determined by the jury make out a case of entrustment as specified in the presentment, and take the defendant from out of the protection mentioned in Wylie v. State, supra, and Huff v. State, 79 Ga. App. 717 (54 S. E. 2d 446), as well as McJenkin v. State, 62 Ga. App. 321 (7 S. E. 2d 812), and citations in those cases. Therefore, the contentions of the defendant, first, that the evidence does not support the verdict on the general grounds, second, that the evidence shows that, at the trial of the said case, the prosecutrix owed the defendant the sum of three or four hundred dollars on the contract price for the construction of the house, and third, that the court erred in failing to direct a verdict of not guilty, are without merit.
The court did not err in denying the motion for new trial for any of the reasons assigned.
Roy Leathers, Solicitor-General, Clarence Peeler, Jr., Assistant Solicitor-General, contra.
W. Harvey Armistead, for plaintiff in error.
DECIDED APRIL 13, 1954.
Saturday May 23 03:42 EDT


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