People v. Connors

Decision Date02 June 1930
Docket NumberNo. 138.,138.
Citation230 N.W. 931,251 Mich. 99
CourtMichigan Supreme Court


Error to Circuit Court, Washtenaw County; George W. Sample, Judge.

John F. Connors was convicted of obtaining money by false pretenses, and he brings error.


Argued before the Entire Bench.

Jacob F. Fahrner, of Ann Arbor, for appellant.

Carl H. Stuhrberg, Pros. Atty., of Ann Arbor, for the People.


Defendant for several years was chief of police of the city of Ypsilanti. He caused vouchers to be prepared, approved, ordered paid, and checks issued to and in the name of certain persons believed by the disbursing officers of the city to be police officers. A large number of the checks were paid. Defendant admitted that from time to time he indorsed the several names of the several payees on the checks and procured the money from the bank. There was no city record of the appointment of such police officers, no oath of office filed by any of them. Defendant's contention is that they were ‘undercover’ men, and for that reason he cashed the checks and obtained the money for them, and for that reason too there was no record of their appointment. The information relates to a certain check of April 17 for $75 issued to Chas. Hall, and charges that defendant procured the check to be issued, and obtained the check and the money by false pretenses, and that Hall was not employed by the city. Defendant, convicted and sentenced, brings error.

Complaint is made of argument of the prosecuting attorney as prejudicial. No objection or exception was taken at the time, and no ruling or instruction sought. We therefore cannot find it reversible error, although it may be prejudicial. People v. Korn, 217 Mich. 170, 185 N. W. 817.

One objection to such argument properly saved for review relates to the following: ‘* * * If you acquit John Connors the people of the state of Michigan have no recourse; the people of the state of Michigan have no appeal. If you made a mistake the people cannot complain. But on the other hand, members of the jury, to convict John Connors and you have made a mistake, he has the right to appeal.’

Thereupon, on objection by defendant's counsel, the court said: ‘I presume inasmuch as there has been an objection made, although the question has been largely covered by my instructions to the jury, I would say and I ought to say to the jury that the defendant in this case, if granted the right appeal by the supreme court may on any errors that may have been committed in the trial of this cause. That right has to be granted him, of course, upon application to the supreme court. That is the practice at this time. I didn't get just exactly what Mr. Stuhrberg said.’

And the court referred to the matter again in the charge. We think the prejudicial effect of the argument cured by the instructions of the court.

Error is assigned on the instruction relative to evidence of good character adduced by defendant. The instruction as a whole, seemingly based on the criticised case of People v. Mead, 50 Mich. 228, 15 N. W. 95 (see People v. Best, 218 Mich. 141, 187 N. W. 393; note 10 A. L. R. 58) and People v. Garbutt, 17 Mich. 9, 97 Am. Dec. 162 is not assailed, but the assignment as briefed is substantially on the following excerpt: ‘This testimony is not proof of the guilt or innocence of the respondent. * * *’ The expression may not be fortunate, but it is not technically incorrect. Proof is the effect of evidence. It is the sufficient reason for assenting to a proposition, the establishment of a fact by evidence. People v. Bowers, 2 Cal. Unrep. Cas. 878, 18 P. 660;Orth v. St. Paul, M. & M. Ry. Co., 47 Minn. 384, 50 N. W. 363; 6 Words and Phrases, First Series, 5684. It is apparent that character evidence is not proof of guilt or innocence. The court gave it its proper significance, quoting from the instruction: ‘You are instructed that good character may not only raise a doubt of guilt which would not otherwise exist, but it may bring conviction of innocence. In every...

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17 cases
  • People v. Duncan
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • January 1, 1976
    ...(1976); People v. Hancock, 326 Mich. 471, 40 N.W.2d 689 (1950); People v. Zesk, 309 Mich. 129, 14 N.W.2d 808 (1944); People v. Connors, 251 Mich. 99, 230 N.W. 931 (1930); People v. Goldberg, 248 Mich. 553, 227 N.W. 708 (1929); M.C.L.A. § 769.26; M.S.A. § We examine the prosecutor's remarks ......
  • State v. Sheppard
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • July 13, 1955
    ...a fair trial so as to warrant change of venue since the press is entitled to public news with fair comment. See also, People v. Connors, 251 Mich. 99, 230 N.W. 931; People v. Swift, 172 Mich. 473, 138 N.W. 662; People v. Broady, 195 Misc. 349, 90 N.Y.S.2d 864; State v. Burns 79 R.I. 130, 84......
  • People v. Bigge
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • April 4, 1939
    ...remarks of counsel may be cured by proper and timely instructions. People v. Lincourt, 221 Mich. 674, 192 N.W. 572;People v. Connors, 251 Mich. 99, 230 N.W. 931. However, this court has repeatedly stated that errors will not be considered on review in the absence of objection to the prejudi......
  • People v. Fitzsimmons
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • February 16, 1948
    ...adopted by Judge Simpson is not subject to valid objection. See People v. Swift, 172 Mich. 473, syllabus (2), 138 N.W. 662,People v. Connors, 251 Mich. 99, syllabus (5), 230 N.W. 931;People v. Raider, 256 Mich. 131, 134, 239 N.W. 387;People v. Schneider, 309 Mich. 158, syllabus (2), 14 N.W.......
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