PEOPLE OF MI V GERALD N BRYANTAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
November 3, 1998
LC No. 95-010235
GERALD N. BRYANT,
Before: Griffin, P.J., and Gage and R. J. Danhof*, JJ.
Defendant was convicted in a bench trial of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, MCL
750.520b(1)(c); MSA 28.788(2)(1)(c), kidnapping, MCL 750.349; MSA 28.581, and aggravated
stalking, MCL 750.411i(2)(b); MSA 28.643(9)(2)(b). He appeals as of right and we affirm.
Defendant first argues that he was denied effective assistance of counsel at trial because defense
counsel failed to contact or otherwise investigate certain potential witnesses. To establish a claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must demonstrate that counsel’s performance fell below an
objective standard of reasonableness and that, but for counsel’s deficient performance, a reasonable
probability existed that the outcome of the trial would have been different. People v Pickens, 446
Mich 298, 302-303; 521 NW2d 797 (1994). Having reviewed defendant’s claims, we find that
counsel’s failure to contact or investigate potential witnesses Richard Myles or Sue Wycowski did not
deprive defendant of valuable evidence that would have substantially benefited defendant in his bench
trial. People v LaVearn, 448 Mich 207; 528 NW2d 721 (1995); People v Caballero, 184 Mich
App 636, 642; 459 NW2d 80 1990). Accordingly, defendant has not established entitlement to
appellate relief on this basis.
Next, defendant asserts that he was denied a fair trial because the prosecutor improperly shifted
the burden of proof to him during closing argument. Given that a timely objection was not made to the
challenged comments, review is precluded unless failure to consider the issue would result in a
miscarriage of justice. People v Stanaway, 446 Mich 643, 687; 521 NW2d 557 (1994). After
* Former Court of Appeals judge, sitting on the Court of Appeals by assignment.
reviewing the prosecutor’s closing argument in its entirety, we conclude that the challenged statements
were a proper comment on the validity of defendant’s defense and lack of corroboration. See People
v Fields, 450 Mich 94; 538 NW2d 356 (1995).
/s/ Richard Allen Griffin
/s/ Hilda R. Gage
/s/ Robert J. Danhof