People v. Johnson

Decision Date13 September 1966
Docket NumberNo. 1,No. 855,855,1
Citation144 N.W.2d 646,4 Mich.App. 205
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Louis JOHNSON, Defendant-Appellant. Cal
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

Carolyn Florescu, Lincoln Park, for appellant.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Robert A. Derengoski, Sol. Gen., Lansing, Samuel H. Olsen, Pros. Atty., Wayne County, Detroit, for appellee.

Before LESINSKI, C.J., and T. G. KAVANAGH and RASHID, * JJ.

T. G. KAVANAGH, Judge.

The defendant was convicted by the court sitting without a jury of the crime of breaking and entering a building in the nighttime. 1

The appeal asserts that there was not sufficient evidence as a matter of law to support the conviction.

The evidence against the defendant was slight. He was arrested at the scene of the crime by police officers who were responding to a report of a break-in at a gasoline station. He was apprehended behind a sign in the rear of the gasoline station. The policeman testified that the defendant was in a stooped position when arrested. A screwdriver subsequently identified as having been taken from the station was found on the ground near him. His explanation of his presence at that time and place was variously that he had been drinking and had felt sick to his stomach and had regurgitated and that he had to urinate. No evidence of either action was found by the police officer. No stolen property or tools appropriate to the break-in were found in his possession.

The only criminating evidence adduced was the defendant's presence at the scene of the crime and his activities which the police regarded as suspicious. His explanation was that he lived next door to the gasoline station and no evidence was introduced to show he did not. His exculpatory statements, even if regarded as false, while they might show a consciousness of guilt are no substantive evidence of it. See United States v. McConney (CCA 2, 1964) 329 F.2d 467.

We find no evidence in the record which supports a conclusion that negatives every reasonable theory consistent with the defendant's innocence. See People v. Spann (1966), 3 Mich.App. 444, 142 N.W.2d 887, and the cases cited therein. We perceive this to be the measure of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt since the cases of Hall v. People (1878), 39 Mich. 717; and People v. Millard (1884), 53 Mich. 63, 18 N.W. 562.

Reversed, without new trial.

* Judge JOSEPH G. RASHID, of the Wayne County Circuit Court, sitting in place of Judge...

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19 cases
  • People v. Wolfe
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • August 31, 1992
    ...instruction of a jury where the evidence is wholly circumstantial is not implicated in this appeal.5 See People v. Johnson, 4 Mich.App. 205, 207, 144 N.W.2d 646 (1966) (the Court relied on Millard for the proposition that the measure of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is whether the reviewi......
  • People v. Dandron
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • August 3, 1976
    ...beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Royal, 62 Mich.App. 756, 757--758, 233 N.W.2d 860 (1975). Appellant points to People v. Johnson, 4 Mich.App. 205, 144 N.W.2d 646 (1966), as establishing insufficiency as a matter of law. That opinion sets out facts similar to those in the present case. J......
  • People v. Palmer
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • August 29, 1972
    ...v. Butler, 27 Mich.App. 404, 183 N.W.2d 595 (1970); People v. Hughes, 27 Mich.App. 221, 183 N.W.2d 383 (1970).8 See People v. Johnson, 4 Mich.App. 205, 144 N.W.2d 646 (1966); People v. Lee, 14 Mich.App. 328, 165 N.W.2d 518 (1968); Crawford v. State, 251 Ind. 437, 441, 241 N.W.2d 795, 797 (1......
  • People v. Strawther
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • May 25, 1973
    ...will allow a court to infer from mere presence both possession of the goods and that defendant stole them. In People v. Johnson, 4 Mich.App. 205, 206--207, 144 N.W.2d 646 (1966), the Court confronted a similar 'He was arrested at the scene of the crime by police officers who were responding......
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