People v. Palm

Decision Date07 January 1929
Docket NumberNo. 126.,126.
Citation223 N.W. 67,245 Mich. 396
PartiesPEOPLE v. PALM.
CourtMichigan Supreme Court


Error to Circuit Court, Ingham County; Leland W. Carr, Judge.

Fred Palm was convicted on his plea of guilty of illegal possession of intoxicating liquor, and he brings error. Affirmed.

Argued before FEAD, C. J., and NORTH, FELLOWS, WIEST, CLARK, McDONALD, and SHARPE, JJ. Edmund E. Shepherd and Ford P. Brook, both of Detroit, for appellant.

Wilber M. Brucker, Atty. Gen., Harold J. Waples and Charles Rubiner, Asst. Attys. Gen., and Barnard Pierce, Pros. Atty., of Lansing, for the People.


Defendant reviews his conviction and sentence to life imprisonment on his plea of guilty by writ of error allowed by this court on his personal petition therefor. All irregularities in the issuance thereof have been waived by the Attorney General.

The sentence was imposed under the mandatory provision of section 12 of chapter 9 of Act No. 175 of the Public Acts of 1927 (the Code of Criminal Procedure), which reads as follows: ‘A person who after having been three times convicted within this state, of felonies or attempts to commit felonies, or under the law of any other state, government or country, of crimes which if committed within this state would be felonious, commits a felony within this state, must be sentenced upon conviction of such fourth or subsequent offense, to imprisonment in a state prison for the term of his natural life. Offenders sentenced under this and the last two preceding sections shall not be eligible to parole before the expiration of the minimum term fixed by the sentencing judge at the time of the sentence without the written approval of the judge of such court or any judge of such court if the sentencing judge is not then serving. A person to be punishable under this and the last two preceding sections need not have been indicted and convicted as a previous offender in order to receive the increased punishment therein provided, but may be proceeded against as provided in the following section.’

Section 13 provides: ‘If at any time after conviction and either before or after sentence it shall appear that a person convicted of a felony has previously been convicted of crimes as set forth in any of the three foregoing sections, it shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney of the county in which such conviction was had to file an information in such cause accusing the said person of such previous convictions. Whereupon the court in which such conviction was had shall cause the said person whether confined in prison or otherwise, to be brought before it and shall inform him of the allegations contained in such information, and of his right to be tried as to the truth thereof according to law, and shall require such offender to say whether he is the same person as charged in such information or not. If he says he is not the same person, or remains silent, the court shall enter a plea of not guilty, and a jury of twelve jurors shall be impaneled from the petit jurors serving at the then or a following term of said court to determine the issues raised by such information and plea. The accused may waive trial by jury in the manner provided by this act. The usual practice in the trial of criminal cases shall be followed in the impaneling of such jury and the trial of said issue and the prosecuting officer and the accused shall each be allowed five peremptory challenges. If the accused shall plead guilty to such information or if the jury shall return a verdict of guilty, the court shall sentence him to the punishment prescribed in the three preceding sections, as the case may be, and shall vacate the previous sentence, deducting from the new sentence all time actually served on the sentence so vacated if required. When ever it shall become known to any warden, or prison, probation, parole, or other peace officer that any person charged with or convicted of a felony has been previously convicted within the meaning of the three preceding sections, it shall become his duty forthwith to report the facts to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which such person is charged or was sentenced.’

The information to which defendant pleaded guilty, and on which the sentence of life imprisonment was imposed, charged that before the filing thereof the defendant had been once convicted of burglary and four times of a violation of the law prohibiting the manufacture or sale, etc., of intoxicating liquors in the circuit court for the county of Ingham, in which such information was filed. It also charged that on February 2, 1920, defendant was convicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan of defacing the lawful currency of the United States.

The journal of the court, attested by the signature of the trial judge, reads as follows: ‘The Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Ingham, having filed his information against the said respondent, alleging and charging that the said respondent has heretofore been convicted of six felonies and the said respondent having been duly arraigned on said information and having pleaded guilty thereto; and on examination by the court, it appearing that said plea of guilty was voluntarily and understandingly tendered, and said plea of guilty having been accepted by the court; and having been, on motion of the Prosecuting Attorney, brought to the bar of the court for sentence, and having there been asked by the court if he had anything to say why judgment should not be pronounced against him, and alleging no reason to the contrary; therefore, it is considered by the court now here, that the said Fred Palm be confined in the State Prison at Jackson at hard labor for life from and including this day.’

The manner in which the Criminal Code was prepared, and the purpose of its enactment, was referred to in People v. Lintz, 244 Mich. 603, 222 N. W. 201. The provision for increased sentence when the defendant had been theretofore convicted is not new in this state. Sections 5948 and 5949, 2 Comp. Laws 1857, contained provision therefor, and have been continued in force without change. They appear as sections 15612 and 15613, 3 Comp. Laws 1915. This court has sustained sentences imposed thereunder. People v. Campbell, 173 Mich. 381, 139 N. W. 24. The mandatory provision in the present law is its chief additional feature.

Such laws evidence a desire on the part of the people of the state to protect themselves from the acts of habitual violators of law. Such persons, by the repeated commissions of felonies, have shown that they are a menace to society, unfit for liberty, and should be deprived thereof. The punishment in such cases is increased because of the apparent persistence in the commission of crime by the person convicted and his indifference to the laws deemed necessary for the protection of the people and their property. Experience teaches that the fear of severe punishment is more likely to rid the state of this type of professional criminals than any effort which may be made looking to their reformation.

The reasoning on which such laws are sustained is very aptly stated in 8 R. C. L. 271, as follows: ‘An habitual criminal statute is a thing of modern creation, and while there are many rules of law which may seem inconsistent with its purpose and the procedure adopted to compass it, it is nevertheless sound in principle and sustained by reason. Aside from the offender and his victim there is always another party concerned in every crime committed-the state; and it does no violence to any constitutional guaranty for the state to rid itself of depravity when its efforts to reform have failed. The true ground upon which these statutes are sustained is, that the punishment is awarded for the second offense only,...

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  • People v. Potts
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • September 25, 1974
    ...was sentenced under and by virtue of the habitual criminal act. The constitutionality of such act was upheld in People v. Palm, 245 Mich. 396, 223 N.W. 67 (1929).' In People v. Birmingham, 13 Mich.App. 402, 407--410, 164 N.W.2d 561, 563--565 (1968), this writer said: 'We find that under the......
  • People v. Preuss, Docket No. 83218
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • September 28, 1990
    ...of crime by the person convicted and his indifference to the laws....' " Id., p. 271, 414 N.W.2d 693 (quoting People v. Palm, 245 Mich. 396, 401, 223 N.W. 67 [1929]. See also Stoudemire, 429 Mich. pp. 266, 268, 414 N.W.2d Since Stoudemire, several panels of the Court of Appeals have applied......
  • People v. Eason
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • July 5, 1990
    ...probable cause for believing the accused party committed it. If no crime is charged, an examination is not required. In People v Palm, 245 Mich 396 [223 NW 67 (1929) ], it was held that a supplemental information, filed after conviction, alleging a prior conviction, does not charge any crim......
  • People v. Stoudemire
    • United States
    • Michigan Supreme Court
    • December 21, 1987
    ...convicted and his indifference to the laws deemed necessary for the protection of the people and their property." People v. Palm, 245 Mich. 396, 401, 223 N.W. 67 (1929). 15 (Emphasis By borrowing New York's statute in its entirety, the Legislature indicated that it was motivated by the same......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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