People v. Quinn

Decision Date29 May 2014
Docket NumberDocket No. 309600.
Citation853 N.W.2d 383,305 Mich.App. 484
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

305 Mich.App. 484
853 N.W.2d 383


Docket No. 309600.

Court of Appeals of Michigan.

Submitted Nov. 13, 2013, at Lansing.
Decided May 29, 2014, at 9:05 a.m.

853 N.W.2d 385

Bill Schuette, Attorney General, Aaron D. Lindstrom, Solicitor General, David E. Gilbert, Prosecuting Attorney, and Marc Crotteau, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for the people.

Law Offices of Michael Skinner, Lake Orion (by Michael Skinner ) for defendant.




305 Mich.App. 485

Defendant, Arthur J. Quinn, appeals as of right his jury trial conviction of resisting or obstructing a police officer, MCL 750.81d(1). Consistent with People v. Moreno, 491 Mich. 38, 814 N.W.2d 624 (2012), we reverse and remand for a new trial.


On June 7, 2011, at about 1:00 a.m., Debra Novar, a sergeant with Emmet Township Department of Public Safety, was on “random patrol.” A severe storm had passed through the area during the previous week, and

305 Mich.App. 486

many areas suffered storm damage. Additionally, several power lines were down, some areas remained without power, and there had been several thefts in the area. Novar testified that, mindful of the storm and recent thefts, she noticed a truck parked outside a salon and went to investigate why someone was parked there at that hour. As Novar approached the salon, she realized that the truck was not parked in the salon's lot, but in a parking lot belonging to an adjacent apartment building—the Eisenhower Apartments. Novar testified that she looked in the direction of the apartments and noticed two people, later identified as defendant and his son Brian Quinn, in a dark carport in the apartment lot. Novar testified that she did not know what they were doing, but she wanted to find out.

Novar got out of her vehicle and twice yelled for them to come toward her. Someone inside the carport said, “No, you come over here,” and then said, “See you later.” Both defendant and Brian then left the carport and appeared to be walking quickly up the sidewalk toward the apartments. Novar radioed for assistance and ran to catch up with the men. Defendant and Brian entered through a door in the

853 N.W.2d 386

rear of the building and the door closed behind them. Novar testified that, while still in pursuit, she opened the door and saw the men standing on a landing area at the top of the steps. Novar testified that she asked to see their identification and asked if they lived at the apartments. According to Novar, each denied living there and refused to show Novar their identification. Novar maintained that she then attempted to place Brian under arrest, but Brian broke free and followed defendant into an apartment. Novar recalled that she placed her foot inside the apartment door to prevent the door from being closed. Novar eventually deployed her pepper spray inside the apartment and kept her foot inside the door until

305 Mich.App. 487

backup assistance arrived, at which time she pushed on the door with her shoulder and the door opened. Officers informed defendant that he was under arrest, but defendant pulled away and said he did not need to go to jail. One officer used an “arm bar” to force defendant onto the ground, handcuffed him, and placed defendant under arrest.

Defendant lived in Saginaw, but he testified that he was staying at the Eisenhower Apartments with Brian to perform some work for the owner, his father-in-law. Defendant testified that, at about 1:00 a.m., they went outside to defendant's truck to make sure that it was locked and that he had not left any tools in the vehicle. Defendant testified that the parking area was very dark and he noticed a vehicle, with no lights on, pull into the salon parking lot next door. Defendant heard someone say, “Hey, you guys, come here.” Brian replied, “No, come over here.” Defendant testified that he saw a flashlight come on. Defendant was “terrified”; he told Brian that they should go inside and call 9–1–1. Defendant testified that he and Brian then walked quickly toward the apartment building.

Defendant testified that he and Brian entered the apartment building and walked quickly up the stairs to the apartment they were using during their stay. Defendant entered the apartment, grabbed his telephone from the kitchen table to call 9–1–1, and then noticed that Brian had not entered the apartment with him. Defendant testified that, as he walked back toward the door to get Brian, the front door opened “violently” and knocked the telephone out of his hand. Defendant testified that he saw Brian sprayed with pepper spray and that he was sprayed as well. Defendant testified that he was afraid, thought someone was attempting to harm him, pushed against the door to prevent any

305 Mich.App. 488

further attack, and yelled for Brian to call 9–1–1. Defendant testified that he was still unaware that a police officer was attempting to enter the apartment. He testified that he did not see Novar at the top of the steps because he was already inside the apartment when she entered the building. According to defendant, Novar never asked him for his identification and never identified herself.

Defendant testified that, after someone sprayed him with pepper spray and he attempted to shut the door, he picked up his telephone, went into the kitchen, and sat at the table. Defendant tried to use the telephone but was unable to see because of the pepper spray. While he was attempting to make a call, someone came into the kitchen, “flung” him onto the floor, and handcuffed him. Defendant testified that it was at that point that he realized that officers were in his apartment and involved in the incident. Defendant denied dragging his feet or being uncooperative on the way to the police car.

Relevant to the issue raised on appeal, defendant filed a pretrial motion to suppress, arguing that Novar's actions were

853 N.W.2d 387

unlawful and violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Relying on People v. Ventura, 262 Mich.App. 370, 686 N.W.2d 748 (2004), the trial court denied his motion because, under Ventura, the lawfulness of an arrest was not an element of resisting arrest in a prosecution alleging a violation of MCL 750.81d(1).

After the trial court sentenced defendant, the Supreme Court decided Moreno, which overruled Ventura. Defendant moved for a posttrial directed verdict of acquittal and, in the alternative, for a new trial, on the basis of Moreno. Defendant argued that he was entitled to a directed verdict because his detainment and arrest were unlawful and, under Moreno, defendant had the common-law right to resist unlawful police action. In

305 Mich.App. 489

the alternative, defendant requested that the trial court grant him a new trial because (1) the great weight of the evidence indicated that defendant was innocent and (2) defendant was denied his constitutional rights to present a defense, to a properly instructed jury, and to be confronted with the witnesses against him because he was not allowed to argue the unlawfulness of the arrest. The trial court denied the motion for the reasons that the arrest was lawful and Moreno was not retroactive.


On appeal, defendant first argues that the trial court erroneously determined that Moreno is not retroactive. We agree. “The retroactive effect of a court's decision is a question of law that this Court reviews de novo.” Johnson v. White, 261 Mich.App. 332, 336, 682 N.W.2d 505 (2004). Generally, judicial decisions establishing a new rule of law are given full retroactive effect. Paul v. Wayne Co. Dep't of Pub. Serv., 271 Mich.App. 617, 620...

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31 cases
  • People v. Alexander
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • 12 August 2021
    ...reads: "The court should provide detailed legal instructions regarding the applicable law governing the officer's legal authority to act." Id. In case, as to the elements, the trial court instructed the jury: First, that the Defendant assaulted or battered or wounded or obstructed or oppose......
  • People v. Vandenberg
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • 2 October 2014
    ...wounded, resisted, obstructed, opposed, or endangered was a police officer performing his or her duties.” People v. Quinn, 305 Mich.App. 484, 491, 853 N.W.2d 383 (2014) (quotation marks and citation omitted). In addition, “the prosecution must establish that the officers' actions were lawfu......
  • Nelson v. Green Oak Twp.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • 20 January 2016
    ...and held that lawfulness of the underlying arrest is an element of the charge of resisting under § 750.81d. See People v. Quinn, 305 Mich. App. 484, 492 (2014) (holding that post-Moreno, "the prosecution must establish that the officers acted lawfully as an actual element of the crime of re......
  • Barrera v. City of Mount Pleasant
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • 3 September 2021
    ...... obstructed ... was a police officer performing his or her duties," and (3) the "officer[ ] acted lawfully." People v. Quinn , 305 Mich.App. 484, 853 N.W.2d 383, 388 (2014) (quotation omitted). "Obstruct," the statute says, "includes the use or threatened use of physical interference or ......
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