People v. Simpson

Decision Date27 October 1980
Docket NumberDocket No. 78-4597
Citation305 N.W.2d 249,104 Mich.App. 731
PartiesPEOPLE of the State of Michigan, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Linda SIMPSON, Defendant-Appellant.
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan — District of US

James R. Neuhard, State Appellate Defender, Kim R. Fawcett, Asst. State Appellate Defender, for defendant-appellant.

Frank J. Kelley, Atty. Gen., Robert A. Derengoski, Sol. Gen., George B. Mullison, Pros. Atty., James A. Brunson, Asst. Pros. Atty., for plaintiff-appellee.

Before DANHOF, C. J., and KELLY and CORSIGLIA, * JJ.


On June 19, 1978, defendant Linda Simpson was convicted by a jury of possession of heroin contrary to M.C.L. § 335.341(4); M.S.A. § 18.1070(41)(4) (repealed by 1978 P.A. 368, effective September 30, 1978, now M.C.L. § 333.7403; M.S.A. § 14.15(7403)), and conspiracy to possess herein contrary to M.C.L. § 335.341(4), § 750.157a; M.S.A. § 18.1070(41)(4), § 28.354(1). Defendant was also found to have violated the habitual offender statute, M.C.L. § 769.10; M.S.A. § 28.1082. On that same date, defendant's motion to set aside the verdict on the ground that it was against the great weight of the evidence was denied. She was sentenced on August 21, 1978, to a prison term of from two to six years and now appeals.

Defendant raises several issues in the present appeal; however, we address only her claim that the trial court erred in denying her motion for a directed verdict of acquittal made at the close of the prosecution's proofs. In ruling on such a motion, the trial judge must consider the evidence presented by the prosecution up to the time the motion is made, view that evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution and determine whether a rational trier of fact could find that the essential elements of the crime had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. People v. Hampton, 407 Mich. 354, 285 N.W.2d 284 (1979). Under the circumstances in the present case, we hold that the trial judge erred by denying the motion.

The crime of possession of heroin requires proof that the defendant exercised control or had the right to exercise control of the drug and knew that it was present. People v. Stewart, 52 Mich.App. 477, 217 N.W.2d 894 (1974). Based on the evidence presented, we do not believe a rational trier of fact could have found that these elements were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. No direct evidence connected defendant with the heroin. Police officers testified that they raided a Bay City house and found it occupied by two men, Ronald Williams and Warren Abernathy. A large quantity of heroin was found in a backroom of the house and on the person of Abernathy. Defendant arrived on the scene after the police had conducted their search. There was evidence that she paid the rent on the house and lived there. Her fingerprints were discovered on tin foil and a mirror seized from the backroom where the heroin was...

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2 cases
  • People v. Wolfe
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • August 31, 1992
    ...Mich. 354, 285 N.W.2d 284 (1979).2 Compare, e.g., People v. Davenport, 39 Mich.App. 252, 197 N.W.2d 521 (1972), People v. Simpson, 104 Mich.App. 731, 305 N.W.2d 249 (1980), and People v. Lewis, 178 Mich.App. 464, 444 N.W.2d 194 (1989), with People v. Mumford, 60 Mich.App. 279, 230 N.W.2d 39......
  • People v. Richardson, Docket No. 71883
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan (US)
    • February 22, 1985
    ...or had the right to exercise control of the substance and knew that it was present. People v. Hunten, supra; People v. Simpson, 104 Mich.App. 731, 733, 305 N.W.2d 249 (1980); People v. Mumford, The evidence of possession in this case was entirely circumstantial. The cocaine was found in a d......

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