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Scott v. State

Supreme Court of Delaware

May 9, 1955

Ida M. SCOTT, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Delaware, Appellee.

Defendant was convicted of procuring a third person to perform an abortion. The Superior Court, New Castle County, entered judgment and defendant brought error. The Supreme Court, Bramhall, J., held that evidence was insufficient to sustain conviction.

Reversed.

Henry A. Wise, Jr., Wilmington, for appellant.

Page 881

Herbert L. Cobin, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., for the State.

SOUTHERLAND, C. J., and WOLCOTT and BRAMHALL, JJ., sitting.

BRAMHALL, Justice.

Appellant, Ida M. Scott, was indicted and tried as an accomplice in abortion. The indictment, which is based upon Title 11, Sec. 102(c) of the Del.C. of 1953, is in two counts. Appellant is charged, first, with procuring a certain Alice Quigley to perform an abortion on a named pregnant woman; [49 Del. 253] and, secondly, with counseling the said Alice Quigley to perform the act of abortion upon the same woman. The case was tried before the court below without a jury. That court found the following facts:

‘ Shortly prior to December 17, 1952, a Mrs. Compton, who was pregnant, consulted defendant about an abortion. Mrs. Scott refused herself to aid her in any fashion, but stated she though she could find a person who would perform such an operation for her. Pursuant to arrangement by telephone, Mrs. Compton drove to defendant's apartment on December 17, picked her up and, under defendant's direction, drove to the apartment of Alice Quigley, where defendant introduced Mrs. Compton and Mrs. Quigley. Defendant then went into another room while Alice Quigley performed an act or acts intended to procure an abortion. Thereafter, Mrs. Compton paid Mrs. Quigley $150 and drove defendant to her home.’

The court below found that based upon these findings of fact defendant's guilt under the first count of the indictment was established beyond a reasonable doubt. The court stated that in view of its finding appellant guilty on the first count, it was unnecessary to analyze the evidence presented in the light of the charge of counseling as charged in the second count.

There was ample evidence upon which to base the findings of the court below.

At the trial and in her subsequent motion appellant contended: (1) that the indictment did not charge an offense under the laws of this State; (2) that the evidence did not warrant a conviction under either count of the indictment; and, (3) that appellant was not given her constitutional rights entitling her to immediate discharge because of the failure on the part of the State to accord to her a speedy trial within the meaning of Amendment Art. 6 of the federal constitution and Art. 1, Sec. 7 of the Constitution of the State of Delaware, Del.C.Ann. The latter question was not raised in the appeal and will not be considered.

[49 Del. 254] Two questions were presented: (1) Does the indictment charge an offense against the laws of this State? (2) Was the evidence sufficient to warrant the court below in finding appellant guilty of procuring a third person to perform an abortion? Since the latter question is dispositive of the case we need not consider the sufficiency of the indictment.

Was sufficient evidence presented to warrant the court below in finding appellant guilty under the first court of the indictment charging appellant with procuring an abortion?

Appellant contends that she should not have been convicted upon Count No. 1 of the indictment charging her with procuring one Alice Quigley to perform an abortion upon the third party. She asserts that the record is completely bare of any evidence showing that she procured Alice Quigley to commit an abortion. Appellant also says that such statement is not included in the findings of fact of the court ...


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