PEOPLE OF MI V WILLIE JONES JRAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
June 16, 1998
Detroit Recorder’s Court
LC No. 96-003945
WILLIE JONES, JR.,
Before: Sawyer, P.J., and Bandstra and J.B. Sullivan*, JJ.
Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of unarmed robbery, MCL 750.530; MSA
28.798. Defendant was sentenced to two to fifteen years’ imprisonment. Defendant appeals his
conviction as of right. We affirm.
On appeal, defendant first claims that there is insufficient evidence to support his conviction. In
reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in a criminal case, we must view the 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 were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. People v Morton, 213 Mich App
331, 334; 539 NW2d 771 (1995). Circumstantial evidence and reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom may constitute satisfactory proof of the elements of the offense. People v Truong (After
Remand), 218 Mich App 325, 337; 553 NW2d 692 (1996).
The elements of unarmed robbery are: “(1) a felonious taking of property from another, (2) by
force or violence or assault or putting in fear, and (3) being unarmed.” People v Johnson, 206 Mich
App 122, 125-126; 520 NW2d 672 (1994). One who procures, counsels, aids, or abets in the
commission of an offense may be convicted and punished as if he committed the offense directly. MCL
767.39; MSA 28.979; People v Turner, 213 Mich App 558, 568; 540 NW2d 728 (1995). To
establish that a defendant aided and abetted a crime, the prosecutor must prove that (1) the crime
charged was committed by the defendant or some other person, (2) the defendant performed acts or
encouraged or assisted the principal in committing the crime, and (3) the defendant intended the
* Former Court of Appeals judge, sitting on the Court of Appeals by assignment.
commission of the crime or knew the principal intended its commission at the time he gave aid or
encouragement. Turner, supra at 568. An aider and abettor’s state of mind may be inferred from all
the facts and circumstances. Id.
Here, the evidence established that the victim exited a dry cleaners and observed two men in a
slow-moving truck driven by defendant. When she entered her car, the passenger of the truck ran
toward her, opened the door, hit her in the chest, grabbed her purse, and ran back to the truck where
defendant was waiting with the motor running. As the victim pursued the passenger to the truck,
defendant pushed the door open for the perpetrator. She then told defendant that the passenger
snatched her purse, at which point the passenger told defendant “man let’s go, I got ‘the’ purse.” The
license plate number of the truck, which the victim was able to remember, was registered to defendant.
Moreover, the victim identified defendant approximately twenty minutes after the incident when
defendant walked into the police station. Although defendant denies any involvement in the robbery,
issues of credibility are for the factfinder to resolve. People v Wolfe, 440 Mich 508, 514-515; 489
NW2d 748 (1992), amended 441 Mich 1201 (1992).
Viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, we conclude that there was
sufficient evidence to permit a rational trier of fact to find that defendant’s companion committed
unarmed robbery, that defendant assisted the perpetrator, and that defendant both intended to commit
the robbery and knew that the perpetrator intended to steal the purse. Accordingly, we conclude that
there was sufficient evidence to find defendant guilty of unarmed robbery beyond a reasonable doubt.
Next, defendant argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel because his attorney
failed to subpoena potential alibi witnesses who could have established that defendant was at a crack
house at the time of the robbery. However, because there was no motion for a new trial or no
evidentiary hearing on this issue below, appellate review is limited to the record. People v Maleski,
220 Mich App 518, 523; 560 NW2d 71 (1996).
To establish ineffective assistance of counsel, the defendant must show that his trial counsel’s
performance fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and that counsel’s representation so
prejudiced the defendant as to deprive him of a fair trial. People v Barclay, 208 Mich App 670, 672;
528 NW2d 842 (1995). Effective assistance of counsel is presumed, and the defendant bears a heavy
burden of proving that his counsel’s actions were other than sound trial strategy. People v Stanaway,
446 Mich 643, 687; 521 NW2d 557 (1994). After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that
defendant has neither sustained his burden of proving that trial counsel made a serious error that affected
the result of the trial nor overcome the presumption that counsel’s actions were sound trial strategy.
People v Daniel, 207 Mich App 47, 58; 523 NW2d 830 (1994); People v Kelly, 186 Mich App
524, 526; 465 NW2d 569 (1990).
/s/ David H. Sawyer
/s/ Richard A. Bandstra
/s/ Joseph B. Sullivan