e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 54978
Opinion Date : 06/27/2013
e-Journal Date : 07/15/2013
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : People v. Russell
Practice Area(s) : Criminal Law, Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - Owens, Gleicher, and Stephens
Full Text Opinion
Issues:

Sufficiency of the evidence to convict the defendant of aggravated stalking; MCL 750.411i(2)(a) & (c); People v. Ericksen; People v. Threatt; "Other acts" evidence; MRE 404(b)(1); People v. Martzke; People v. VanderVliet; People v. Sabin (After Remand); People v. McGhee; People v. Magyar; The "best evidence" rule; MRE 1002; Lund v, Starz; The contents of the PPO; Prosecutorial misconduct; People v. Carines; People v. Brown; People v. Thomas; People v. Fyda; People v. Watson; Jury instructions; People v. Chapo; People v. Kelly; People v. Carbin; Sentencing; Scoring of OV 4; "Waiver"; People v. Carter; People v. Osby; People v. Babcock; Admission of defendant's police statements; Miranda v. Arizona; People v. Steele; People v. Zahn; Discovery; People v. Rose; People v. Jackson; Amended information; People v. Aldrich; People v. Fonville

Summary

The court held, inter alia, that there was sufficient evidence to find defendant guilty of aggravated stalking beyond a reasonable doubt. His convictions arose out of the theft of jewelry that belonged to the victim, his former girlfriend, and his harassment of the victim after she ended her relationship with him. Defendant telephoned the victim repeatedly and sent her scores of text messages. The victim felt threatened by some of his text messages, including messages in which he told her he would "holler" at her - she believed "holler" was defendant's way of saying he was going to hurt her. He also sent the victim a text message in which he told her, "could put red on that yellow sweatshirt, don't want to make a M with the people in the red truck around. LOL. For blood and he know why, so believe it." At the time she received this message, the victim was wearing a yellow sweatshirt inside her home and had not left home while wearing it. There was also a red truck parked outside her home. The victim believed that his message meant that defendant wanted to harm or kill her. She also believed that defendant followed her when she left her home. She obtained a PPO against him on 9/8/11. Defendant continued to telephone the victim despite being present at the hearing at which the PPO was issued that prevented him from contacting her. Defendant did not contest that he stalked the victim, but argued that the evidence was insufficient for a rational jury to find one of the aggravating circumstances found in MCL 750.411i(2)(a) and (c). The jury was instructed on both (a) and (c). The court concluded that the evidence produced at trial was sufficient for a rational jury to convict him under either alternative. The victim testified that he telephoned her after she obtained the PPO, and the prosecution presented sufficient evidence that he made a "credible threat" to the victim. The court also held that none of the other issues defendant raised on appeal had merit and affirmed his convictions and sentences.

Full Text Opinion