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Smith v. State

July 1915

A. E. D. SMITH, JOE REEDER, GEORGE HOLMES, WARREN FRUIT, HENRY HUGHES, JACK FERGUSON, BILL PARSONS, OTTO VAN NORMAN, AND BEN CAMBRON, RESPONDENTS, V. STATE OF NEVADA, APPELLANT.


Appeal from First Judicial District Court, Ormsby County; Frank P. Langan, Judge.

Geo. B. Thatcher, Attorney-General, for Appellant.

Sweeney & Morehouse and W. W. Griffin, for Respondents.

By the Court, Norcross, C. J.:

This is an action to recover the amount of a reward offered by the governor under the provisions of an act of the legislature reading:

[38 Nev. 477, Page 479]

“An act authorizing the governor to offer a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of the murder of Harry Cambron and three associates in Washoe County. “Approved February 17, 1911.

“Section 1. That the governor is hereby authorized to offer a reward of one thousand dollars in each instance, and not exceeding five thousand dollars in all, for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of the murder of Harry Cambron and three associates in Washoe County.

“Sec. 2. There is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the treasury, not otherwise appropriated, the sum of five thousand dollars, to carry out the provisions of this act.” (Stats. 1911, p. 16.)

This case was submitted to the court below upon the following agreed statement of facts:

“That during or about the month of January, 1911, Harry Cambron and three associates were murdered in Washoe County, State of Nevada. That thereafter the legislature of the State of Nevada authorized the offer of a reward for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of the murder of Harry Cambron and three associates, such act having been approved on February 17, 1911. That thereafter, and on the 17th day of February, 1911, Tasker L. Oddie, Governor of the State of Nevada, did offer a reward of $1,000 in each case for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of the murder of Harry Cambron and three associates. That Harry Cambron and three associates were murdered by a band of Indians, which included Indian Squaw Jennie, unknown Indian boy, Shoshone Mike, Buck Disenda, Buck Kinnan, Buck Cupena, and unknown Indian squaw. That A. E. Smith, Joe Reeder, George Holmes, Warren Fruit, Henry Hughes, Jack Ferguson, Bill Parsons, Otto Van Norman, and Ben Cambron, plaintiffs herein, were members of a posse on the trail of the said Indians, and did, on or about the 26th day of February, 1911, kill the certain Indians above referred to in an attempt to arrest said Indians, who were then and there

[38 Nev. 477, Page 480]

murderers of said Harry Cambron and three associates, while said Indians refused to surrender, and were resisting arrest for the said murder of said Harry Cambron and three associates, but that none of said assassins were arrested, tried, or convicted by any court. That none of the plaintiffs herein knew of the reward so offered by the governor, as provided for by the act of the legislature, until after the killing of the said Indians, who were the murderers of said Harry Cambron and three associates, on or about February 26, 1911.”

The appeal presents two questions:

(1) Is prior knowledge of the offer of the ...


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