Criminal Law

Issues: Whether there was sufficient evidence to support the defendant's convictions of two counts of felonious assault; Whether defendant possessed an intent to injure the victim or an intent to place the victim in a reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery; People v. Jackson; People v. Rivera; People v. Russell; People v. McGhee; Opinion testimony; MRE 602; People v. Aldrich; People v. Musser; MRE 701; Claim that the trial court pierced the veil of judicial impartiality; "Plain error" review; People v. Carines; People v. Paquette; People v. Cheeks; MRE 614(b); People v. Abraham; Prosecutorial error; Claim that the prosecutor mischaracterized witness's testimony; People v. Unger; People v. Dobek; People v. Mann; People v. Long; Ineffective assistance of counsel; Failure to introduce evidence that defendant suffered from untreated bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the time of the offense; People v. Carpenter; People v. Davis; People v. LeBlanc; People v. Trakhtenberg; People v. Carbin; People v. Hoag; People v. Rockey; People v. Chapo

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: People v. Sturner

e-Journal Number: 59722

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Hoekstra, Markey, and Donofrio

 

Holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's convictions of two counts of felonious assault, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing a witness to testify to his personal observations, the prosecutor did not commit misconduct, and defendant was not denied the effective assistance of counsel, the court affirmed. Defendant's convictions arose from a neighborhood street fight that began as a verbal argument between B (defendant's girlfriend), and 16-year-old R and her mother. Defendant argued that the evidence failed to show that he possessed an intent to injure either victim (A or K, brothers who lived three houses down from R's house, and arrived in an apparent attempt to stop the fighting), or that he intended to place either in a reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery. The evidence indicated that during, or in the moments after, the original altercation between B and R, defendant obtained a steel pipe and approached A and K. A testified that "defendant held the steel pipe like a baseball bat." When A stepped in front of defendant to prevent him from getting to the girls, defendant raised the pipe up as if to hit A and stated, "I'm going to f**k you up." Defendant also told A "to get out of the way or defendant was going to hurt him." A testified that "he believed that defendant was going to hit him with the pipe." Similarly, K testified that "defendant approached him with the pole, raised and extended his hand backward, and stated, 'I'll f**k you up old man.'" K explained that his first reaction was to immediately "draw back" because he was scared and thought defendant was going to hit him. Viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, the manner in which defendant raised the pipe at A and K while simultaneously threatening to hurt them was sufficient to enable the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant assaulted them with the intent to place them in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery. In contrast, on appeal, defendant highlighted the fact that he did not hit A or K and he characterized his remarks as nothing but an "empty threat." Although he emphasized that he did not actually hit anyone, it was not necessary for him to inflict injury or to commit a battery to be convicted of felonious assault. Moreover, it was for the jury to determine what inferences to draw from the evidence, and the court will not interfere with these determinations on appeal.

 

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