People v. Brown, Docket No. 137822

Decision Date08 December 1992
Docket NumberDocket No. 137822
Citation197 Mich.App. 448,495 N.W.2d 812
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ben BROWN, Jr., Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Thomas L. Casey, Sol. Gen., William A. Forsyth, Pros. Atty., and Timothy K. McMorrow, Chief Appellate Atty., for the People.

David A. Dodge and Frank Stanley, Grand Rapids, for defendant-appellant.

Before HOOD, P.J., and SAWYER and JANSEN, JJ.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant was convicted, following a jury trial, of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, M.C.L. Sec. 750.520b(1)(f); M.S.A. Sec. 28.788(2)(1)(f) (force or coercion used to accomplish sexual penetration, personal injury inflicted). He appeals as of right. We affirm.

Defendant first argues that the trial court gave an erroneous instruction regarding the element of "force or coercion" in response to questions from the jury. We disagree.

During deliberations, the jury asked for a definition of the term "force or coercion" and for the elements of the crime. In response, the court reread the instructions it had given earlier. Later, the jury asked: "In regard to the definition of force or coercion, does there have to be evidence that the defendant was aware of the result of his actions on the victim?" The court, over defendant's objection, answered "no." The court stated that the question meant whether defendant must have intended to cause bodily injury or mental anguish when he used force or coercion to accomplish sexual penetration of the victim. The court ruled that no such intent was required because the crime was one of general intent.

Defendant, although agreeing that the crime is one of general intent, speculates whether the jury may have wanted to know whether the element of force or coercion requires knowledge, i.e., whether a defendant must knowingly use force or coercion.

Defendant's speculation with regard to what may have been in the jurors' minds is unsupported by the record. The jury did not seek clarification of the judge's answer or ask any additional questions. Further, because the crime is one of general intent, the answer would still be "no," because no knowledge is required for the element of force or coercion. People v. Langworthy, 416 Mich. 630, 643-645, 331 N.W.2d 171 (1982).

Defendant next argues that there was insufficient evidence of force or coercion. Again, we disagree.

"Force or coercion includes but is not limited to " physical force or violence, threats of force, threats of retaliation, inappropriate medical treatment, or concealment or surprise. M.C.L. Sec. 750.520b(1)(f); M.S.A. Sec. 28.788(2)(1)(f). Force or coercion is not limited to physical violence but is instead determined in light of all the circumstances. People v. Makela, 147 Mich.App. 674, 682, 383 N.W.2d 270 (1985); People v. McGill, 131 Mich.App. 465, 472-476, 346 N.W.2d 572 (1984).

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, it is clear that defendant used force or coercion upon the victim. Defendant, after giving some money to the man who brought the victim into a house, had sex with her. He found her sitting in a bedroom, alone, naked, and crying. He disregarded her requests to go home and her statements that she did not want to be there and did not want to have intercourse. Defendant's assertion that he did not know that the victim had been kidnapped and raped by her kidnapper and by other men in the house is not sufficient to negate the fact that he forced himself upon her in a situation where her lack of consent and physical helplessness were clear. People v. Jansson, 116 Mich.App. 674, 679, 682-684, 323 N.W.2d 508 (1982); see also Makela, supra 147 Mich.App. at 677-678, 682, 383 N.W.2d 270. There was sufficient evidence for the jury to find the element of force or coercion proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lastly, defendant argues that there is insufficient evidence that the victim's personal injury and emotional trauma was caused by him rather than by the man who kidnapped her or by the other men who raped her. He argues that he did not cause the personal injury suffered by the victim, and therefore he could not be convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Under defendant's theory, the most he could be convicted of is third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Personal injury is defined as "bodily injury, disfigurement, mental anguish, chronic pain, pregnancy, disease, or loss or impairment of a sexual or reproductive organ." M.C.L. Sec. 750.520a(j); M.S.A. Sec. 28.788(1)(j). Defendant does not dispute that the victim suffered personal injury,...

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  • People v. Knapp
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • March 22, 2001
    ...but is instead determined in light of all the circumstances." Reid, supra at 468, 592 N.W.2d 767, quoting People v. Brown, 197 Mich.App. 448, 450, 495 N.W.2d 812 (1992). We also find instructive this Court's definition of coercion applied in People v. Premo, 213 Mich.App. 406, 410-411, 540 ......
  • Vazquez v. Burt
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Michigan
    • January 30, 2017
    ...at 222. Moreover, "the statute does not require that defendant be the sole cause of the victim's injury." People v. Brown, 197 Mich. App. 448, 452; 495 N.W.2d 812 (1992). There was sufficient evidence that defendant caused the victim personal injury.Vazquez, 2015 WL 1932069 at *2-3. Petitio......
  • Crowell v. Woods
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • January 19, 2016
    ...violence, threats of force, threats of retaliation, inappropriate medical treatment, or concealment or surprise." People v. Brown, 495 N.W.2d 812, 813 (Mich. Ct. App. 1992) (quoting Mich. Comp. Laws, § 750.520b(1)(f)). "Force or coercion is not limited to physical violence but is instead de......
  • People v. Corbiere
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • November 26, 1996
    ...77 (1980); see also CJI2d 20.12(2)(a), 20.15, and 20.24(1)-(4); see Langworthy, supra at 645, 331 N.W.2d 171, People v. Brown, 197 Mich.App. 448, 450, 495 N.W.2d 812 (1992), and People v. Perry, 172 Mich.App. 609, 623, 432 N.W.2d 377 (1988). Therefore, proof of domestic assault is not neces......
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