People v. McCager

CourtSupreme Court of Michigan
Citation116 N.W.2d 205,367 Mich. 116
Docket NumberNo. 83,83
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff and Appellee, v. Edward McCAGER, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date02 July 1962

Paul L. Adams, Atty. Gen., Joseph B. Bilitizke, Sol. Gen., Samuel H. Olsen, Pros. Atty., Wayne County, Samuel J. Torina, Chief Appellate Lawyer, Angelo A. Pentolino, Asst. Pros. Atty., Detroit, for the People.

Henry Heading, Detroit, for appellant.

Before the Entire Bench, except ADAMS, J.

SOURIS, Justice (for affirmance).

By this appeal on leave granted we review denial of defendant's motion to quash an information charging murder in the first degree, defendant's claim being that his confession, solely upon which the information was based, was inadmissible in evidence against him. Neither at the preliminary examination, nor at the hearings on defendant's motion to quash, was there offered any evidence that his confession was involuntarily extracted from his by physical or psychological brutality. Instead, defendant relies upon the claim that his detention for four days after arrest without a warrant and prior to arraignment was for the manifest purpose of affording the police an opportunity to extract from him the confession which he ultimately made and, therefore, that the confession was inadmissible as a matter of law within our ruling in People v. Hamilton, 359 Mich. 410, 102 N.W.2d 738, because extracted from him during a period of unlawful detention.

Two years ago, in People v. Hamilton, supra, at p. 417, 102 N.W.2d p. 742, this Court unanimously held that 'an unnecessary and so unlawful delay of compliance with either of said sections 13 and 26, 1 when done for prolonged interrogatory purposes and without proven justification of the delay, renders involuntary and so inadmissible whatever confessional admissions the detained person may have made while so unlawfully detained.'

Thus Michigan became the first state to adopt the exclusionary principle announced in McNabb v. United States, 318 U.S. 332, 63 S.Ct. 608, 87 L.Ed. 819, which the federal courts are required to follow. See Culombe v. Connecticut, 367 U.S. 568, 600, 81 S.Ct. 1860, 1878, 6 L.Ed.2d 1037, 1056, footnote 53 of Mr. Justice Frankfurter's opinion; 7 Wayne L.R. 51, 60; and People v. Lundberg, 364 Mich. 596, 604, 111 N.W.2d 809.

Our decision in Hamilton, adopting the exclusionary principle of McNabb, was planted not alone on the statutory requirements cited, but also upon Michigan's own constitutional guarantee of due process. Const.1908, art. 2, § 16. By guarding against 'actual or inferential judicial sanction of procedures which are violative either of section 13 or section 26,' we also sought to assure an accused 'the process that is due him,' 359 Mich. p. 419, 102 N.W.2d p. 743.

This appeal comes to us before trial by motion designed either to avoid trial entirely or to insure that, if a trial is held, defendant will not be put in jeopardy of conviction of first degree murder by the use of a confession alleged by him to be inadmissible in evidence. Normally, when confessions are claimed to be inadmissible because obtained against the confessor's will by force, or threat of force, actual or more subtle, there are present disputed factual issues appropriately left for jury determination at the time of trial. People v. Barker, 60 Mich. 277, 27 N.W. 539; People v. Owen, 154 Mich. 571, 118 N.W. 590, 21 L.R.A.,N.S., 520; People v. Prestidge, 182 Mich. 80, 148 N.W. 347; People v. Biossat, 206 Mich. 334, 172 N.W. 933; People v. Foster, 211 Mich. 486, 179 N.W. 295; People v. Podolski, 332 Mich. 508, 52 N.W.2d 201, and opinion for affirmance in People v. Roberts, 364 Mich. 60, 61, 110 N.W.2d 718. What we have here, however, is a confession claimed to be made inadmissible not by physically or psychologically oppressive tactics by which it was involuntarily extracted from defendant, but rather, solely by reason of defendant's allegedly unlawful detention during which he confessed.

On the day following defendant's arrest, an attorney apparently hired in his behalf cause to be issued a writ of habeas corpus, in obedience to which the police produced defendant before Judge John A. Ricca, one of the judges of the recorder's court for the city of Detroit. The record discloses that at the police officers' request, Judge Ricca adjourned the hearing until the following morning, a Saturday, to give the police additional time to conduct their investigation concerning a conflict between defendant's denial that he had been in the vicinity at the time of the crime and other information possessed by the police which we are told indicated that he had been there the night before the morning of the murder. On Saturday, the adjourned hearing on the writ was again adjourned an additional 48 hours until the following Monday morning. This adjournment resulted, we are told, because the police officers informed the judge that defendant had named another person in whose company he was when he last saw the victim and that the police had not had an opportunity to question that person, although he had been arrested.

Many of our constitutional guardians of liberty were conceived at our country's birth out of a felt need of our forebears for new restrains upon governmental despotism. The ancient writ of habeas corpus, however, was so fundamental to their notions of an ordered society that it was inherited full grown as it was known in England in 1789. Stidham v. Swope, D.C., 82 F.Supp. 931. Alexander Hamilton ranks it together with the prohibition of ex post facto laws in our Federal Constitution as the greatest securities against the 'most formidable instruments of tyranny'. The Federalist Papers, No. 84.

Habeas corpus is a civil proceeding the main purpose of which is to cause the release of persons illegally confined, to inquire into the authority of law by which a person is deprived of his liberty. C.L.1948, § 637.1 et seq. (Stat.Ann. § 27.2244 et seq.), and Goetz v. Black, 256 Mich. 564, 240 N.W. 94, 84 A.L.R. 802. Application for the writ of habeas corpus is not made in the criminal proceedings; it is made in a new and independent civil action instituted to enforce a civil right, the right to liberty.

'The writ of habeas corpus is the remedy which the law gives for the enforcement of the civil right of personal liberty. Resort to it sometimes becomes necessary, because of what is done to enforce laws for the punishment of crimes; but the judicial proceeding under it is not to inquire into the criminal act which is complained of, but into the right to liberty notwithstanding the act. Proceedings to enforce civil rights are civil proceedings, and proceedings for the punishment of crimes are criminal proceedings. In the present case the petitioner is held under criminal process. The prosecution against him is a criminal prosecution, but the writ of habeas corpus which he was obtained is not a proceeding in that prosecution. On the contrary, it is a new suit brought by him to enforce a civil right, which he claims, as against those who are holding him in custody, under the criminal process. If he fails to establish his right to his liberty, he may be detained for trial for the offense; but if he succeeds he must be discharged from custody. The proceeding is one instituted by himself for his liberty, not by the government to punish him for his crime. * * *' Ex parte Tom Tong, 108 U.S. 556, 559, 2 S.Ct. 871, 27 L.Ed. 826.

The place of the writ of habeas corpus in the arsenal of free men dedicated to the preservation of their liberties is guaranteed, 'unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require' its suspension. Art. I, § 9, United States Constitution, and art. II, § 11, Const. 1908. Its power is supreme; it is of paramount authority over all other writs. 39 C.J.S. Habeas Corpus § 87, citing People v. Zimmer (1911), 252 Ill. 9, 96 N.E. 529, and Ex parte Dodd (1952), 72 Idaho 351, 241 P.2d 359.

At the common law, upon return to a writ of habeas corpus custody of the prisoner thereafter passed to the judge who issued the writ. In 1871, in Barth v. Clise, 79 U.S. 400, 20 L.Ed. 393, 394, the United States Supreme Court said:

'By the common law, upon the return of a writ of habeas corpus and the production of the body of the party suing it out, the authority under which the original commitment took place is superseded. After that time, and until the case is finally disposed of, the safekeeping of the prisoner is entirely under the control and direction of the court to which the return is made. The prisoner is detained, not under the original commitment, but under the authority of the writ of habeas corpus. Pending the hearing he may be bailed de die in diem, or be remanded to the jail whence he came, or be committed to any other suitable place of confinement under the control of the court. He may be brought before the court from time to time by its order until it is determined whether he shall be discharged or absolutely remanded. King v. Bethel, 5 Mod. 19; Bac.Abr. tit. Habeas Corpus, B. 13; Anon. 1 Vent. 330; Sir Robert Peyton's Case, 1 Vent. 346; Hurd, Hab. Corp. 324. * * * '

Hurd, Habeas Corpus (2d ed.), p. 319, the same passage cited in Barth, supra, put it this way:

'Pending the examination or hearing, the prisoner, in all cases on the return of the writ, is detained, not on the original warrant, but under the authority of the writ of habeas corpus. He may be bailed on the return de die in diem, or be remanded to the same jail whence he came or to any other place of safe-keeping under the control of the court of officer issuing the writ, and by its order brought up from time to time till the court or officer determines whether it is proper to discharge or remand him absolutely.

'The King's Bench may, pending the hearing, remand to the same prison or to their own, the Marshalsea. The efficacy of the original commitment is...

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12 cases
  • People v. Cipriano, Docket Nos. 77682
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 1 Junio 1987
    ...person may have made while so unlawfully detained." Hamilton, supra, 359 Mich. at p. 417, 102 N.W.2d 738. See also People v. McCager, 367 Mich. 116, 116 N.W.2d 205 (1962), and People v. Walker, 371 Mich. 599, 124 N.W.2d 761 14 Three of the justices (Ryan, Brickley, and Boyle) dissented from......
  • People v. Mallory, s. 64270
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 7 Febrero 1985
    ...brought before the court from time to time until the court determines whether or not it is proper to discharge him. People v. McCager, 367 Mich. 116, 116 N.W.2d 205 (1962). Thus, there is no right to immediate bond although the magistrate at the reverse writ proceeding certainly had the law......
  • State v. Bitz, 9793
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • 15 Octubre 1969
    ...869 (1927); Stewart v. Bishop, 403 F.2d 674 (8th cir. 1968); Oates v. People, 136 Colo. 208, 315 P.2d 196 (1957); People v. McCager, 367 Mich. 116, 116 N.W.2d 205 (1962); State ex rel. Nelson v. Rigg, 260 Minn. 57, 108 N.W.2d 723 (1961). For this reason it is our opinion that appellant was ......
  • People v. Ubbes, 75
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • 2 Febrero 1965
    ...rationale of our Hamilton decision was emphasized by our subsequent, and again unanimous, decision in People v. McCager, 367 Mich. 116, at pages 118, 119, 116 N.W.2d 205, at page 206, where we 'Two years ago, in People v. Hamilton, supra, [359 Mich.] at p. 417, 102 N.W.2d p. 742, this Court......
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