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Exhumation

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EXHUMATION. The exhumation of a body should be ordered, if at all, only on a strong showing that, without its examina tion, a fraud is likely to be accomplished which an insurance company has exhausted every other legal means of exposing; Gran ger's Life Ins. Co. v. Brown, 57 Miss. 308, 34 Am. Rep. 416. Disinterment may be com pelled by public authorities whenever condi tions become such as that the public health is threatened, or in the interest of justice; Gray v. State, 55 Tex. Cr. R. 90, 114 S. W. 635, 22 L. It. A. (N. S.) 513 ; or for the pur pose of ascertaining whether a crime has been conimitted ; " People v. Fitzgerald, 105 N. Y. 146, 11 N. E. 378, 59 Am. Rep. 483 ; or where an examination may disclose facts which prove an accused person innocent of crime;. Gray v. State, 55 Tex. Cr. R. 90, 114 S. W. 635, 22 L. R. A. (N. S.) 513.

Such an order was refused in Moss v. State, 152 Ala. 30, 44 South. 598, because it appeared that two reputable physicians, available at the trial, had examined the body before burial. There is said to be no law re quiring a court, at the prisoner's request, but at the expense of the state, to order the body to be exhumed in order to furnish him with evidence; Salisbury v. Com., 79 Ky.

425. In Corn. v. Grether, 204 Pa. 203, 53 Atl. 753, the court refused to set aside a convic tion of murder in the first degree because the district attorney and not the coroner had caused the body to be exhumed. In an in surance case, exhumation was ordered, to obtain evidence bearing on the question of suicide ; the marshal was directed to exhume the body and the court appointed a patholo gist and a chemist to make the examination; it was held, also, that such order could be made only in a case where the widow was a party ; Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York v. Griesa, 156 Fed. 398. The right to make the order, in an insurance case, was recognized in People v. Fitzgerald, 105 N. Y. 146, 11 N.

E. 378, 59 Am. Rep. 483; Grangers Life Ins. Co. v. Brown, 57 Miss. 308, 34 Am. Rep. 446; but in the latter case the order was refused on the ground of delay. See 22 L. R. A. (N. S.) 513, note.