McQuirter v. State
36 Ala. App. 707, 63 So.2d 388 (1953)

  • Allen (described as ‘a white woman’) was walking down the street with her kids when she saw McQuirter (described as ‘a Negro man’) sitting in a car. He exited the car and began to follow her. Allen got scared and called for a neighbor. McQuirter wandered about aimlessly for a while and then went home.
  • McQuirter was arrested and charged with assault with intent to rape.
    • At Trial, the sheriff testified that McQuirter confessed to police (under interrogation) that was thinking about raping Allen, but didn’t go through with it.
    • At Trial, McQuirter testified that he never threatened Allen and wasn’t even following her, he just happened to be walking in the same direction.
  • The Trial Court convicted McQuirter of assault with attempt to rape and fined him $500. He appealed.
    • The jury was instructed that they “may consider social conditions and customs founded upon racial differences, such as that Allen was a white woman and McQuirter was a Negro man.”
  • The Appellate Court upheld the conviction.
    • The Appellate court found that in order to be guilty of attempt, there must be an intent on the part of the defendant to commit the crime.
    • The Court found that intent is a question to be determined by the jury from the facts and circumstances adducted at trial.
      • The jury found that McQuirter had intent beyond reasonable doubt.
    • The Court found that jury’s verdict was reasonable and should not be overturned.
  • Note that this case happened in Alabama during the 1950s.