Wednesday, February 29, 2012

US vs. Tanedo [15 Phil. 196 (1910)]

Facts: On January 26, 1909, Cecilio Tanedo, a landowner, went with some workers to work on the dam on his land, carrying with him his shotgun & a few shells. Upon reaching the dam, the accused went on his way to hunt for wild chickens, meeting the victim, Feliciano Sanchez, the latter's Mother & Uncle. The accused went into the forest upon the recommendation of the deceased to continue his search for the elusive wild chickens. Upon seeing one, Tanedo shot one, but simultaneously, he heard a human cry out in pain. After seeing that Sanchez was wounded, Tanedo ran back to his workers and asked one, Bernardino Tagampa, to help him hide the body, which they did by putting it amidst the tall cogon grass, & later burying in an old well. Only 1 shot was heard that morning & a chicken was killed by a gunshot wound. Chicken feathers were found at the scene of the crime. There was no enmity between the accused and the deceased. Prior to the trial, the accused denied all knowledge of the crime, but later confessed during the trial. The lower court found the accused guilty of homicide, having invited the deceased into the forest & intentionally shooting him in the chest. Accused was sentenced to 14 yrs, 8 mos & 1 day of reclusion temporal, accessories, indemnifications & costs. The accused appealed. 

Issue: Whether or not the accused is guilty 

Held: No. The idea that Tanedo intended to kill Sanchez is negated by the fact that the chicken and the man were shot at the same time, there having only one shot fired. Also, according to: 

§ Article 1 of the Penal Code: Crimes or misdemeanors are voluntary acts and omissions punished by law… 

§ Article 8: He who while performing a legal act with due care, causes some injury by mere accident without liability or intention of causing it. 

§ Section 57 of Code of Criminal Procedure: A defendant in a criminal action shall be presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved, and in case of a reasonable doubt that his guilt is satisfactorily shown he shall be entitled to an acquittal. 

In this case there is no evidence of negligence on the part of the accused, nor is it disputed that the accused was engaged in a legal act, nor is there evidence that the accused intended to kill the deceased. The only thing suspicious is his denial of the act and his concealment of the body. 

The court quoted State vs. Legg: "Where accidental killing is relied upon as a defense, the accused is not required to prove such a defense by a preponderance of the evidence, because there is a denial of intentional killing, and the burden is upon the state to show that it was intentional, and if, from a consideration of all the evidence, both that for the state and the prisoner, there is a reasonable doubt as to whether or not the killing was accidental or intentional, the jury should acquit." 

Court held that the evidence was insufficient to support the judgment of conviction.

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1 comments: on "US vs. Tanedo [15 Phil. 196 (1910)]"

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