STATE v. PETRIDGE. 445
Apr. 1919 Opinion Per MOUNT, J.
[No. 15179. Department Two. April 8, 1919.]
THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, Respondent, v.
A. C. PETRIDGE, Appellant. «1»
FORGERY (7-1) - AUTHORITY TO SIGN - EVIDENCE. A prosecution for
forging the name of accused's father to a mortgage must fail and
a verdict of not guilty should be directed, where it appears from
the evidence of the father, testifying for the state, that he not
only authorized his son to make the mortgage, but afterwards
Appeal from a judgment of the superior court for
King county, Frater, J., entered May 22, 1918, upon
a trial and conviction of forgery. Reversed.
Geo. H. Rummens (S. H. Steele, of counsel), for
Alfred H. Lundin and John D. Carmody, for respondent.
MOUNT, J. - The appellant was charged with the
crime of forgery in the first degree. He entered a
plea of not guilty thereto, the cause was tried to the
court and a jury and resulted in a verdict of guilty.
A judgment was entered thereon, from which this appeal
At the close of the evidence, counsel for the appellant
moved the court for a directed verdict of not
guilty. The court denied this motion.
The facts are not disputed. It appears that, some
time prior to May 23, 1916, the appellant and his wife
were living at the home of appellant's father, who was
a widower. The appellant's father had been in poor
health for some years and the appellant had transacted
all his business. It was his custom to sign his
father's name to checks and receipts for rent and the
like. Some time in May, the appellant, who is engaged
«1» Reported in 180 Pac. 150.
446 STATE v. PETRIDGE.
Opinion Per MOUNT, J. 106 Wash.
in business, asked his father for $1,200 or $1,500. The
father said to him:
"I haven't the money now, son, but, if you want to,
go and mortgage the place, but you will have to pay
the interest and pay it off."
Thereupon the appellant made an application for a
loan of $1,200, to be secured by a mortgage upon his
father's home in Seattle. This application was signed
"H. B. Petridge, By A. C. Petridge." The latter is
the appellant. This application was presented to William
D. Perkins, who agreed to make the loan and
take the mortgage upon the property. Mr. Perkins
understood that the mortgage was being made by
H. B. Petridge, the appellant's father. After abstracts
had been examined and found correct, a mortgage
was prepared and left in the banking house of
Mr. Perkins. The appellant was notified that the
mortgage was ready for execution. He thereupon
went to the banking house - Mr. Perkins being absent,
the cashier being present - and stated to the cashier
that he had come to sign the mortgage. He had never
before executed a deed or a mortgage. When the prepared
mortgage was produced, the appellant asked
the cashier how it should be signed. The cashier (who
was not personally acquainted with the appellant),
taking him to be the owner of the property, told him
to sign it "H. B. Petridge." Appellant signed and
acknowledged it as H. B. Petridge. Some time thereafter,
when it was discovered that the mortgage was
not executed by H. B. Petridge, appellant was indicted
by the grand jury.
Upon the trial of the case, it was admitted that appellant
signed and acknowledged the mortgage in his
father's name; that he obtained the check which was
also in his father's name, that he indorsed the check
STATE v. PETRIDGE. 447
Apr. 1919 Opinion Per MOUNT, J.
in his father's name, and also by his own name, obtained
the money thereon and used it in his business.
Mr. H. B. Petridge, the father of the appellant, was
called as a witness by the state; and, after testifying
that his son and wife lived with him, that he was a
widower, that his health had not been good, that his
son for several years had been doing business for him
and collecting rents and taking care of his property;
and, after testifying that his son signed his name and
that his son had asked him for $1,200 or $1,500; he
testified as follows:
"Well, I told him at the time I didn't have the
money, but I says, 'You go ahead and raise this money
on the house, on our home.' I says, 'You go ahead
and put a mortgage on our home.' Q. Meaning that
same home you were living in? A. Yes, that same
home we were living in. Q. You subsequently learned
he had gotten the money? . . . A. . . . yes.
Q. Now then, when your attention was called to it,
did you ever say or attempt to say the boy did not
have authority? A. No. Q. When Mr. Perkins called
your attention to it, did you tell him the mortgage
was all right with you? A. I did; I told him it was
This was the evidence of the father, who owned the
property and who testified as a witness for the state.
This shows conclusively that the son had authority
from the father to make the mortgage. Upon this testimony,
there could be no conviction for forgery, even
though the appellant signed and acknowledged the
mortgage in the name of his father. The mortgage is
a valid mortgage against the property because the
father, who is the owner of the property, not only
authorized the making of the mortgage, but after it
was made he acknowledged that the mortgage was all
right, thereby ratifying the act of the son. In the
448 STATE v. PETRIDGE.
Opinion Per MOUNT, J. 106 Wash.
case of People v. Whiteman, 114 Cal. 338, 46 Pac. 99,
the court said:
"To prove that an accused person signed the name
of another to an instrument, and that he passed such
instrument as genuine, does not prove the commission
of a crime. It must still be shown that it was a false
instrument, and this is not proven until it is shown
that the person who signed another's name did so
without authority. Until this proof is made it is not
shown to be a false instrument, and the defendant is
not put to his proof at all."
To the same effect are: People v. Lundin, 117 Cal.
124, 48 Pac. 1024; Romans v. State, 51 Ohio St. 528, 37
N. E. 1040; and State v. Swan, 60 Kan. 461, 56 Pac.
750. In the latter case it is said:
"If the appellant had authority from Jordan to sign
his name, the act was not forgery. . . . The burden
of proof was upon the state to show that the check
was signed by the appellant without authority from
The facts show conclusively that there was no intent
to defraud on the part of the appellant, and also that
the appellant had authority from his father to execute
the mortgage. Upon these facts, it is too plain for
cavil that there was no question to be submitted to the
jury. It was the duty of the court to direct a verdict
The judgment appealed from is therefore reversed,
and the cause ordered dismissed.
CHADWICK, C.J., FULLERTON, PARKER, and HOLCOMB,