People v. Hill, 012318 MICA, 333453

Docket Nº:333453
Opinion Judge:Per Curiam.
Party Name:PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. KERA ELONE HILL, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before: Cameron, P.J., and Servitto and Gleicher, JJ.
Case Date:January 23, 2018
Court:Court of Appeals of Michigan
 
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PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

KERA ELONE HILL, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 333453

Court of Appeals of Michigan

January 23, 2018

UNPUBLISHED

Wayne Circuit Court LC No. 15-009809-01-FC

Before: Cameron, P.J., and Servitto and Gleicher, JJ.

Per Curiam.

Defendant, Kera Elone Hill, appeals as of right her jury trial convictions of one count of assault with a dangerous weapon (felonious assault), MCL 750.82, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm), MCL 750.227b. Defendant was sentenced to two years' probation for the assault with a dangerous weapon conviction, to run concurrently to her sentence of two years' imprisonment for the felony-firearm conviction. We affirm.

I. GREAT WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE

Defendant asserts that the jury's guilty verdicts on the charges of felonious assault and felony-firearm are contrary to the great weight of the evidence because of discrepancies in the testimony and evidence and the lack of credibility of the shooting victim, Stephen Jarrett.

In general, to preserve the issue for appellate review, contentions that a jury's verdict was contrary to the great weight of the evidence must be raised in a motion for a new trial. People v Lopez, 305 Mich.App. 686, 695; 854 N.W.2d 205 (2014). This Court reviews "for an abuse of discretion a trial court's grant or denial of a motion for a new trial on the ground that the verdict was against the great weight of the evidence." People v Lacalamita, 286 Mich.App. 467, 469; 780 N.W.2d 311 (2009), citing People v Unger, 278 Mich.App. 210, 232; N.W.2d 272 (2008). "An abuse of discretion occurs when the trial court chooses an outcome that falls outside the range of principled outcomes." People v Gonzalez-Raymundo, 308 Mich.App. 175, 186; 862 N.W.2d 657 (2014), citing People v Miller, 482 Mich. 540, 544; 759 N.W.2d 850 (2008).

In her appellate brief, after citing two pages of case law on the topic, defendant asserts as her argument that her convictions are contrary to the great weight of the evidence: This is because all of the evidence that could conceivably have supported the verdicts of guilty were seriously impeached and subject to uncertainties and discrepancies.

A key discrepancy in this case relates to the nature of Stephen Jarrett's alleged gunshot wound. Mr. Jarrett's trial testimony on this matter was wildly at odds with the medical report.

In support of these assertions, defendant cites generally to "Medical Records" and five pages of the March 8, 2016 trial transcript. As routinely recognized by this Court: It is not enough for an appellant in his brief simply to announce a position or assert an error and then leave it up to this Court to discover and rationalize the basis for his claims, or unravel and elaborate for him his arguments, and then search for authority either to sustain or reject his position. The appellant himself must first adequately prime the pump; only then does the appellate well begin to flow. Failure to brief a question on appeal is tantamount to abandoning it. [People v Kevorkian, 248 Mich.App. 373, 389; 639 N.W.2d 291 (2001), quoting Mitcham v Detroit, 355 Mich. 182; 94 N.W.2d 388 (1959).]

Because defendant has failed to explain the alleged discrepancies between the evidence and the jury's guilty verdict in the context of cited legal authority and the weight attributable to the evidence, this issue is deemed abandoned on appeal. Regardless, we find defendant's presumed arguments to lack merit. As explained by this Court:

The test to determine whether a verdict is against the great weight of the evidence is whether the evidence preponderates so heavily against the verdict that it would be a miscarriage of justice to allow the verdict to stand. Generally, a verdict may be vacated only when the evidence does not reasonably support it and it was more likely the result of causes outside the record, such as passion, prejudice, sympathy, or some other extraneous influence. Conflicting testimony, even when impeached to some extent, is an insufficient ground for granting a new trial. Further, the resolution of credibility questions is within the exclusive province of the jury. [Lacalamita, 286 Mich.App. at 469-470 (citations and quotation marks omitted).]

"The elements of felonious assault are (1) an assault, (2) with a dangerous weapon, and (3) with the intent to injure or place the victim in reasonable apprehension of an immediate battery." People v Chambers, 277 Mich.App. 1, 8; 742 N.W.2d 610 (2007)(citation omitted). In turn, "[t]he elements of felony-firearm are that the defendant possessed a firearm during the commission of, or the attempt to commit, a felony." People v Taylor, 275 Mich.App. 177, 179; 737 N.W.2d 790 (2007) (citation omitted).

Initially, defendant asserts the weight of the evidence presented at trial was contrary to Jarrett having incurred an "alleged gunshot wound." Contrary to defendant's contention, Jarrett testified at trial that defendant discharged a firearm twice, with one of the bullets striking Jarrett in the upper thigh or groin area. Two other witnesses, unrelated to the incident or individuals involved, Noah Purcell and Khaled Shato, testified to seeing two individuals outside the Trumbull Market and hearing an argument and gunshots. Shato observed one of the individuals to have a firearm. A police officer, Patrick Hammil, provided Jarrett with treatment for his leg wound while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical technicians.

Defendant's medical records were admitted into evidence at trial. A report authored by Dr. Earl Hartwig, within Jarrett's medical records, indicates that a "head to toe examination" of Jarrett by the trauma team after his arrival at the hospital, found "the 2 above mentioned bullet wounds either exit and entrance or 2 entrance." X-rays were taken and did not reveal the existence of a foreign body "in the abdomen" or a foot fracture. The physician noted, "He [referring to Jarrett] does have a notable gunshot wound to the medial aspect of the upper thigh as well as a wound to the medial aspect of the posterior upper thigh or gluteal crease area." Also noted was "an abrasion . . . to the plantar aspect of the right great toe with mild tenderness to palpation[.]" A history and physical completed at the hospital indicates: "No deformity, tenderness of left thigh near site of bullet wound entry and exit; no drainage of blood from the area, through and through injury." As such, any conclusion by the jury in finding defendant guilty of felonious assault and felony-firearm was supported by evidence adduced at trial that Jarrett was shot and sustained a gunshot wound. At trial, defense counsel challenged Jarrett while he was under oath regarding having incurred the injuries he alleged. The medical records, however, confirm Jarrett's injuries. Hence, with regard to this aspect of defendant's assertions, the verdict is not contrary to the great weight of the evidence.

To the extent defendant takes issue with contradictions in the testimony adduced at trial from Jarrett and, his friend, Deon Johnson regarding how events unfolded and...

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