People v. Battle

Decision Date19 August 1987
Docket NumberDocket No. 88114
Citation161 Mich.App. 99,409 N.W.2d 739
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ronald BATTLE, Defendant-Appellant. 161 Mich.App. 99, 409 N.W.2d 739
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

[161 MICHAPP 100] Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Louis J. Caruso, Sol. Gen., John D. O'Hair, Pros. Atty., Timothy A. Baughman, Chief of Crim. Div., Research, Training and Appeals, and Rosemary A. Gordon, Asst. Pros. Atty., for people.

Robert L. Ziolkowski, Detroit, for defendant-appellant.

Before CYNAR, P.J., and WEAVER and CHERRY, JJ.


Following a jury trial, defendant was found guilty of intentionally concealing or misrepresenting the identity of a motor vehicle by altering the identification numbers, M.C.L. Sec. 750.415(2); M.S.A. Sec. 28.647(2). Defendant was sentenced to prison for 1 1/2 to 4 years. Defendant appeals as of right.

Defendant first contends that the trial court improperly instructed the jury regarding prima facie evidence. Defendant did not object at trial to the instructions on prima facie evidence and, thus, [161 MICHAPP 101] this issue was not preserved for appeal. People v. Kelly, 423 Mich. 261, 271-272, 378 N.W.2d 365 (1985). A review of the instructions indicates that no manifest injustice occurred.

Next defendant argues that the presumption contained in M.C.L. Sec. 750.415(3); M.S.A. Sec. 28.647(3) violates his right to due process. The statute makes possession of a vehicle or auto part with the manufacturer's serial number or engine number removed or destroyed prima facie evidence of the charged crime. A presumption in a criminal statute is regarded as irrational or arbitrary and hence unconstitutional when there is no rational connection between the proven fact and the presumed fact. To avoid a statute's being found unconstitutional because of an irrational or arbitrary presumption, there must be substantial assurance that the presumed fact is more likely than not to flow from the proven fact on which it is made to depend. People v. Rafalko, 26 Mich.App. 565, 569, 182 N.W.2d 732 (1970), citing Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6, 89 S.Ct. 1532, 23 L.Ed.2d 57 (1969). In the instant case, there is a rational connection between the proven fact, possession of a defaced vehicle part, and the presumed fact, concealment with intent to mislead another. In addition, the Legislature's determination favoring a particular presumption should be given deference by this Court when addressing questions of reasonableness. Rafalko, supra, p. 569, 182 N.W.2d 732.

It should be noted that although defendant asserts that the presumption violates his right to equal protection, defendant advanced no argument and cited no authority in support of this assertion. Therefore, the issue is not properly before this Court. People v. Noble, 152 Mich.App. 319, 328, 393 N.W.2d 619 (1986).

Defendant also complains that the trial court [161 MICHAPP 102] erred in failing to quash the search warrant and suppress the evidence seized. We find no error. The police received a citizen complaint that defendant was "cutting up cars" in his back yard. Officer Henry Crump personally observed the dismantled autos in defendant's yard, thereby verifying the citizen's tip. The affidavit supporting the warrant recites these facts along with a reference...

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9 cases
  • People v. Pegenau
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • August 31, 1994
    ...732 (1970), quoting Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6, 36, 89 S.Ct. 1532, 1548, 23 L.Ed.2d 57 (1969). See also People v. Battle, 161 Mich.App. 99, 101, 409 N.W.2d 739 (1987). Defendant argues that there is no basis for feeling substantially assured that the mere act of possession of Valium......
  • People v. Daniels
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • November 23, 1988
    ...Since defendant does not cite authority in support of his position, this issue is not properly before this Court. People v. Battle, 161 Mich.App. 99, 101, 409 N.W.2d 739 (1987). In any event, a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence in a bench trial is reviewed by considering the evid......
  • People v. Davis
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • September 19, 2000
    ...because the perpetrator escaped. Defendant cites no authority for this claim, thereby abandoning it on appeal. People v. Battle, 161 Mich.App. 99, 101, 409 N.W.2d 739 (1987). Defendant further claims that Settles' identification of defendant to the prosecutor right before the start of trial......
  • People v. Venticinque
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • December 22, 1998
    ...The prosecution argues that subsection (3) creates a statutory presumption of defendant's intent to mislead. See People v. Battle, 161 Mich.App. 99, 409 N.W.2d 739 (1987). Even if we assume that the prosecution's argument is correct, the presentation of a prima facie case does not automatic......
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