People v. Blume

Citation443 Mich. 476,505 N.W.2d 843
Decision Date31 August 1993
Docket NumberDocket No. 93707,No. 1,A,1
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Michael D. BLUME, Defendant-Appellant. Calendarpril Term.
CourtSupreme Court of Michigan


We must decide today whether Michigan may punish acts allegedly committed in Florida by a Florida resident. We hold that Michigan may exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction over acts committed outside Michigan when the acts are intended to and do have a detrimental effect within the state. Here, the prosecutor claims that defendant was involved in a conspiracy and aided and abetted the commission of a crime in Michigan because he knew that the person to whom he sold cocaine was from Michigan. We disagree. The "knowledge" to which the prosecutor refers only is part of the evidence necessary to support a conviction for conspiracy or aiding and abetting. But knowledge alone is not enough to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction. 1 The prosecutor must present evidence that defendant intended to commit an act with the intent to have a detrimental effect within this state. That intent does not exist in this case. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals decision, 2 and reinstate the district court's dismissal of the charges.


Defendant, Michael Blume, is a Florida resident who is charged in Michigan with conspiracy to deliver or possession with intent to deliver more than 650 grams of cocaine 3 and with aiding and abetting the manufacture or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver 650 grams of cocaine. 4 The complaint alleges that in June, 1988, defendant sold cocaine to Randall Hoyt, a Michigan resident. The entire transaction took place in Florida.

After purchasing cocaine from defendant, Hoyt returned to Michigan. The Michigan State Police subsequently arrested Hoyt upon discovering a kilo of cocaine during a search of Hoyt's apartment. Hoyt informed the police that he purchased the cocaine from defendant while in Florida. The prosecutor filed a complaint charging defendant. After being arraigned, defendant moved to quash the complaint and charges for lack of jurisdiction.

Officer Palenick was the only prosecution witness who testified at the hearing on the motion to quash for lack of jurisdiction. He explained that Hoyt told him that he traveled to Florida intending to purchase cocaine from a pre-arranged supplier. Unable to find his connection, Hoyt began looking for a new supplier. Hoyt met up with defendant. Apparently, the two had met each other previously through a gym at which both exercised. Hoyt and defendant made arrangements for the sale of cocaine. The entire transaction took place in Florida. Defendant did not have any contact with Hoyt while Hoyt was in Michigan before the sale. Officer Palenick testified that Hoyt said that defendant was aware that he was from Michigan.

After Officer Palenick and defendant testified at the hearing, the trial court dismissed the charges for lack of jurisdiction, finding that if any conspiracy occurred involving defendant, it occurred in Florida, and that defendant did not give aid or encouragement in Michigan. The circuit court reversed and ordered reinstatement of the charges upon finding that defendant's acts were intended to and actually did produce detrimental effects in Michigan. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 5 We granted leave to appeal 441 Mich. 880, 491 N.W.2d 579, and, upon finding the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction in this case inappropriate, we reverse and order reinstatement of the trial court's dismissal of the charges.


The general rule is that jurisdiction is proper only over "offenses as may be committed within its jurisdiction." People v. Devine, 185 Mich. 50, 52-53, 151 N.W. 646 (1915). The authority to exercise jurisdiction over acts that occur outside the state's physical borders developed 6 as an exception to the rule against extraterritorial jurisdiction. That exception, however, is "limited to those acts that are intended to have, and that actually do have, a detrimental effect within the state." Strassheim v. Daily, 221 U.S. 280, 285, 31 S.Ct. 558, 55 L.Ed. 735 (1911); Deur v. Newaygo Sheriff, 420 Mich. 440, 446-447, 362 N.W.2d 698 (1984).

This state has not defined the boundaries of the exception, 7 but consistently has required a finding that the actor intended a detrimental effect to occur in this state. See, e.g., Deur, supra. The two key elements of that requirement are specific intent to act and the intent that the harm occur in Michigan. 8

A proper analysis for this Court is to determine whether a conspiracy or aiding and abetting charge could be established by the evidence. Then, the Court must determine whether the conspiracy or crime that was aided and abetted was intended to occur in Michigan. 9


"A conspiracy is a partnership in criminal purposes." People v. Atley, 392 Mich. 298, 310, 220 N.W.2d 465 (1974) (quoting United States v. Kissel, 218 U.S. 601, 608, 31 S.Ct. 124, 54 L.Ed. 1168 (1910)). "The gist of the offense of conspiracy lies in the unlawful agreement between two or more persons." Atley, 392 Mich. at 311, 220 N.W.2d 465. 10 Establishing a conspiracy requires evidence of specific intent to combine with others to accomplish an illegal objective. Atley at 310, 220 N.W.2d 465.


First, the intent to combine with others for an unlawful purpose must exist. Even if one party intends to combine to pursue an unlawful purpose, " '[t]o prove the crime of conspiracy, ... it must further be proven that that intent, including that knowledge, was possessed by more than one individual since there can be no conspiracy without a combination of two or more 11 persons.' " People v. Sutherlin, 116 Mich.App. 494, 500, 323 N.W.2d 456 (1982) (emphasis added). 12

In Atley, this Court held that there was insufficient evidence to support convicting the defendant of conspiracy to deliver an illegal substance because there was insufficient evidence that two or more parties agreed to sell the marijuana. Atley, along with two other defendants, was arrested for possession of 127 pounds of raw marijuana. He was charged with conspiracy to sell a narcotic drug. The prosecutor alleged that the defendants were going to harvest a marijuana field in Kansas and sell the marijuana in Michigan.

Regarding the evidence, the trial judge explained:

" 'I have some difficulty in bridging the gap between being hired [to] harvest a crop for delivery to a person who has expressed an intention thathe was going to dry it and sell it, but without any agreement or any conversation as to participation in the actual sale, being sufficient to establish a conspiracy, which is an agreement or an understanding to make a sale.' " Id. 392 Mich. at 313, 220 N.W.2d 465.

This Court explained that the evidence was not "strong enough to sustain 13 the conviction for conspiracy to sell marijuana." Id.

"The 'prior combination and agreement' to harvest plus the testimony that defendant Atley intended to sell the marijuana do not directly establish in logic that the defendant and Eaton or any other person agreed to sell the marijuana. There was, in fact, no testimony ... that Eaton agreed with defendant to sell the marijuana.

* * * * * *

"From the established fact of acquisition of 127 pounds of marijuana, we can infer an intent to sell, but that is as far as inference may take us.

"It is not 'a fair inference,' [People v. Beller, 294 Mich. 464, 293 N.W. 720 (1940) ]; People v. Sobczak, 344 Mich. 465; 73 NW2d 921 (1955), to infer the ultimate fact of conspiracy to sell from the fact of joint acquisition. The ultimate fact of intent to sell might be inferred, but not agreement to sell. What they actually intended to do insofar as payment was concerned, or insofar as where the marijuana was to be sold, whether in Michigan or elsewhere, is on this record a matter of conjecture." Id. at 314, 220 N.W.2d 465.


A defendant may become a member of an already existing conspiracy if he " 'cooperates knowingly to further the object of the conspiracy....' " People v. Huey, 345 Mich. 120, 125, 75 N.W.2d 893 (1956) (emphasis added). The "knowledge" is a part of the crime only because "[w]ithout the knowledge, the intent cannot exist. United States v Falcone [311 U.S. 205, 61 S.Ct. 204, 85 L.Ed. 128 (1940) ]." Direct Sales Co. v. United States, 319 U.S. 703, 711, 63 S.Ct. 1265, 1269, 87 L.Ed. 1674 (1943). Mere knowledge that someone proposes unlawful action alone is not enough to find involvement in a conspiracy, however. "Those having no knowledge of the conspiracy are not conspirators, United States v. Hirsch, 100 US 33, 34 [25 L.Ed. 539 (1879) ]; Weniger v United States, 47 F2d 692, 693 [CA 9, (1931) ]; and one who without more furnishes supplies to an illicit distiller is not guilty of conspiracy even though his sale may have furthered the object of a conspiracy to which the distiller was a party but of which the supplier had no knowledge." Falcone, 311 U.S. at 210-211, 61 S.Ct. at 206-207.

The dissent cites Direct Sales to support the proposition that defendant can become involved in the conspiracy through informed or interested cooperation. But the dissent relies on one short sentence of that opinion in so holding. In Direct Sales, the United States Supreme Court also recognized that "[t]here may be circumstances in which the evidence of knowledge is clear, yet the further step of finding the required intent cannot be taken. Concededly, not every instance of sale of restricted goods, harmful as are opiates, in which the seller knows the buyer intends to use them unlawfully, will support a charge of conspiracy." Id. 319 U.S. at 712, 63 S.Ct. at 1269.

There are circumstances, however,...

To continue reading

Request your trial
39 cases
  • Vasquez, In re
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 9 February 1999
    ...221 U.S. 280, 284-285, 31 S.Ct. 558, 55 L.Ed. 735 (1911); State v. Miller, 157 Ariz. 129, 132-133, 755 P.2d 434 (1988); People v. Blume, 443 Mich. 476, 480, 505 N.W.2d 843 (1993); Hardy v. Betz, 105 N.H. 169, 173-174, 195 A.2d 582 (1963); State ex rel. Juvenile Dep't v. W., 34 Or.App. 437, ......
  • Miller v. Stovall, 05-73447.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • 27 August 2008
    ...cooperatively to further that objective." Merko, 2008 WL 747094, at *2, 2008 Mich. App. LEXIS 590, at *6 (citing People v. Blume, 443 Mich. 476, 485, 505 N.W.2d 843 (Mich.1993)). Noting that "[i]dentifying the objectives and even the participants of an unlawful agreement is often difficult ......
  • Carvajal v. Artus, Docket No. 09–0826–pr.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • 25 January 2011
    ...statutes that have an extraterritorial effect”); but cf. State v. Dudley, 364 S.C. 578, 614 S.E.2d 623, 626 (2005); People v. Blume, 443 Mich. 476, 505 N.W.2d 843, 844 (1993) (holding “Michigan may exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction over acts committed outside Michigan when the acts are......
  • Trentadue v. Buckler Lawn Sprinkler, 128579.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 25 July 2007
    ...provisions. Rather, § 5869 includes all law. It is well established that the law includes the common law. E.g., People v. Blume, 443 Mich. 476, 480 n. 7, 505 N.W.2d 843 (1993); Myers v. Genesee Co. Auditor, 375 Mich. 1, 7, 133 N.W.2d 190 (1965); Const. 1963, art. 3, § 7. Because it is clear......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Lines in the sand: the importance of borders in American federalism.
    • United States
    • University of Pennsylvania Law Review Vol. 150 No. 3, January 2002
    • 1 January 2002
    ...that, as a general rule, Idaho courts lack jurisdiction over criminal offenses that were not committed in the state); People v. Blume, 505 N.W.2d 843, 845 (Mich. 1993) (determining that Michigan courts do not exercise jurisdiction over crimes that occur out of state unless the act was inten......
  • Approaches to cybercrime jurisdiction.
    • United States
    • The Journal of High Technology Law Vol. 4 No. 1, July 2004
    • 1 July 2004
    ...intended to have substantial effect within its territory). (66.) State v. Dudley, 354 S.C. 514, 581 S.E.2d 171 (2003); People v. Blume, 443 Mich. 476, 505 N.W.2d 843 (Mich. (67.) 18 U.S. Code [section] 1030(e)(2)(B) (2004). (68.) Art. 257F(2)(b) Tasmanian Criminal Code Act 1924. (69.) W. Va......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT