People v. Petrov

Decision Date04 May 1977
Docket NumberDocket No. 26687
Citation255 N.W.2d 673,75 Mich.App. 532
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Stefan A. PETROV, Defendant-Appellant. 75 Mich.App. 532, 255 N.W.2d 673
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

[75 MICHAPP 533] Cooper, Shifman & Gabe by Charles H. Gabe, Royal Oak, for defendant-appellant.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Robert A. Derengoski, Sol. Gen., L. Brooks Patterson, Prosecutor, Michael J. Modelski, Asst. Pros. Atty., for plaintiff-appellee.

[75 MICHAPP 534] Before DANHOF, C. J., and T. M. BURNS and J. E. McDONALD, * JJ.


Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of extortion, M.C.L.A. § 750.213; M.S.A. § 28.410. Defendant appeals as of right.

Defendant raises six issues on appeal. First, defendant argues that his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was denied. The four factors to be examined are: 1) the length of the delay, 2) the reason for the delay, 3) the defendant's assertion of his right, and 4) prejudice to the defendant. Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 92 S.Ct. 2182, 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972); People v. Chism, 390 Mich. 104, 211 N.W.2d 193 (1973); People v. Collins, 388 Mich. 680, 202 N.W.2d 769 (1972). The 1/2 month delay, including two months on bond, was long enough to require examination of the other three factors. People v. Collins, supra. The reason for the delay, the congested jury docket of the trial judge, is to be charged to the prosecution. People v. Forrest, 72 Mich.App. 266, 249 N.W.2d 384 (1976). Defendant did assert his right. However, defendant failed to show any prejudice to his defense resulting from the delay. Defendant's attorney, appointed before the preliminary examination, had ample time to investigate defendant's defense of alibi. Balancing all four factors together reveals no constitutional violation.

Second, defendant contends that reversible error was caused by the trial court's action of permitting a police officer's hearsay testimony to stand. The testimony concerned the officer's times of dispatch to and arrival upon the scene of the first extortion threat. Defendant's defense for that date and time was alibi. We find no reversible error because [75 MICHAPP 535] other competent testimony corroborated the hearsay. People v. Kregger, 335 Mich. 457, 56 N.W.2d 349 (1953); People v. Rogers, 60 Mich.App. 652, 233 N.W.2d 8 (1975); People v. Vargas, 50 Mich.App. 738, 213 N.W.2d 848 (1973).

Defendant's third contention is that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to grant a mistrial or give a curative instruction following a police officer's unresponsive reference to an air gun found in defendant's home. An unresponsive answer to a proper question is seldom cause for reversal. People v. Kelsey, 303 Mich. 715, 7 N.W.2d 120 (1942). In the present case any possible error was cured by defense counsel's able cross-examination of the witness, wherein it was pointed out that the air gun was not used in the crime, and that ownership of an air gun was not illegal.

Fourth, defendant argues that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting an endorsed prosecution witness to testify following defendant's proofs. The witness had given birth to a baby, and was unable to testify during the people's case-in-chief. The trial court found no substantive chance that defendant would be prejudiced. We agree. We find no abuse of discretion. People v. Wilson, 397 Mich. 76, 243 N.W.2d 257 (1976). Furthermore, any possible error can properly be termed harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Robinson, 386 Mich. 551, 194 N.W.2d 709 (1972); People v. Fell, 65 Mich.App. 543, 237 N.W.2d 550 (1975). The evidence of defendant's guilt was overwhelming, including positive identifications by two other witnesses, testimony of defendant's accomplice, surveillance of the victim and the money drop-site, and physical evidence matching the description of that used by the extortionist.

Defendant's fifth assignment of error concerns [75 MICHAPP 536] the prosecutor's closing argument. We agree that the prosecutor's statements could be taken as vouching for the guilt of defendant's accomplice. This would be improper argument had it related to defendant himself. People v. Humphreys, 24 Mich.App. 411, 180 N.W.2d 328 (1970). Defendant argues that the inference of vouching for the guilt of defendant as well is obvious. However, when read in context of the trial testimony and the entire closing arguments of both attorneys, we find no prejudicial error. The prosecutor was commenting on the accomplice's involvement in crime as it related to his credibility. Defense counsel himself had characterized the accomplice as the "mastermind" behind the...

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10 cases
  • People v. Dietrich
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • November 27, 1978
    ...answer to a proper question does not justify reversal, see People v. Tutha, 276 Mich. 387, 267 N.W. 867 (1936); People v. Petrov,75 Mich.App. 532, 255 N.W.2d 673 (1977). Also, there is no indication that the prosecutor was deliberately attempting to interject inadmissible evidence into the ......
  • People v. Missouri
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • July 25, 1980 required. Collins, supra, 388 Mich. at 690, 202 N.W.2d 769, Chism, supra, 390 Mich. at 112, 211 N.W.2d 193, People v. Petrov, 75 Mich.App. 532, 534, 255 N.W.2d 673 (1977), Classen, supra, 50 Mich.App. at 126, 212 N.W.2d 783, Hammond, supra, 84 Mich.App. at 67, 269 N.W.2d Reason for delay......
  • Stokes v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 26, 1984
    ...we deem the prosecution's closing argument to be closely akin to the comments of the District Attorney in People v. Petrov, 75 Mich.App. 532, 255 N.W.2d 673, 675 (Mich.Ct.App.1977), wherein the Michigan Court of Appeals observed the "[W]hen read in context of the trial testimony and the ent......
  • People v. Moore, Docket No. 78-4580
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • April 21, 1980
    ...not met where the proffered reason for the delay concerned administrative procedures of the trial court. See also, People v. Petrov, 75 Mich.App. 532, 255 N.W.2d 673 (1977) (holding that a delay in trial on account of a congested court docket is chargeable against the prosecution where a de......
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