PEOPLE OF MI V NAJIB EZZEDDINE SHOUCAIRAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN,
December 29, 1998
LC No. 95-004983
NAJIB EZZEDDINE SHOUCAIR,
Before: Jansen, P.J., and Holbrook, Jr., and MacKenzie, JJ.
Defendant appeals as of right from his jury trial conviction for placing an explosive with intent to
destroy and causing damage to property, MCL 750.206; MSA 28.403. Defendant was sentenced to
three to twenty-five years’ imprisonment. We affirm.
On April 10, 1995, the home of Yahia Hassan was damaged when a pipe bomb exploded near
his front porch. On the day of the bombing, Hassan and defendant had been involved in a heated
argument concerning the death of defendant’s sister. Shortly after defendant was arrested on April 12,
1995, Detroit Police Sergeant James A. May took down a written statement from defendant in which
defendant denied having been involved in the bombing. The statement was presented in a question and
answer format. Then, on April 13, 1995, defendant struck up a conversation with Detroit Police
Investigator Darleen McKinney while defendant was being palm-printed by the officer. McKinney
testified at trial that defendant told her that the police should be investigating his sister’s murder “instead
of messing with him.” When defendant made an obscure comment about “a man,” McKinney asked
defendant to whom he was referring to. According to McKinney, defendant responded, “the man I
Defendant argues that the two statements were involuntary and thus inadmissible at trial. We
disagree. In order to determine whether defendant’s statements were freely and voluntarily made, we
must consider the totality of circumstances surrounding the making of the statements. People v
Cipriano, 431 Mich 315, 333-334; 429 NW2d 781 (1988).
In determining whether a statement is voluntary, the trial court should consider,
among other things, the following factors: the age of the accused; his lack of education
or his intelligence level; the extent of his previous experience with the police; the
repeated and prolonged nature of the questioning; the length of the detention of the
accused before he gave the statement in question; the lack of any advice to the accused
of his constitutional rights; whether there was an unnecessary delay in bringing him
before a magistrate . . . ; whether the accused was injured, intoxicated or drugged, or in
ill health when he gave the statement; whether the accused was deprived of food, sleep,
or medical attention; whether the accused was physically abused; and whether the
suspect was threatened with abuse. [Id. at 334. Accord People v Sexton, 458 Mich
43, 66; 580 NW2d 404 (1998).]
After reviewing the record, we conclude that both of defendant’s statements were freely and
voluntarily made. Regarding the oral statement, the record shows that it was not the result of a custodial
interrogation. People v Anderson, 209 Mich App 527, 532; 531 NW2d 780 (1995). Rather,
defendant volunteered the statement to the police during a casual conversation. Defendant may have
been in custody for purposes of obtaining palm prints, but the officer’s behavior is not what elicited the
statement from defendant. There was no evidence presented at the Walker1 hearing that would show
that defendant was mistreated, coerced, or threatened by the officer before making the incriminating
As for defendant’s written statement, the record shows that defendant was not held overly long
and was not subjected to unpleasant surroundings before the statement was made. In addition, the
attitude of the officer who took the statement was not hostile toward the defendant, and there is no
indication that defendant was threatened in any way. There is no indication that defendant’s age, or
physical or mental state, prevented him from freely and voluntarily making the statement. There is also
no indication that defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Finally, we note that defendant
was fully advised of his Miranda2 rights before the statement was written down.
Defendant also argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the two
statements because they were the fruit of an illegal arrest. Prior to trial, the court ruled that the search
warrants used to search defendant’s vehicle and home were defective in that they lacked probable
cause. Defendant asserts that any arrest arising from the defective warrants was illegal and, therefore,
any statements made following the arrest were inadmissible. We disagree. Without deciding the
question of the legality of the arrest, we reject defendant’s argument because we find that the two
statements were both voluntary and the product of a free will. Brown v Illinois, 422 US 590, 602
603; 95 S Ct 2254; 45 L Ed 2d 416 (1975).
As we have just concluded, defendant’s oral statement was made voluntarily. Further, the
record clearly shows that it was not the result of a police interrogation. Because the volunteered
statement was not the product of either police prompting or interrogation, the trial court correctly
concluded that it need not be excluded as the fruit of an illegal arrest. People v Mallory, 421 Mich
229, 241; 365 NW2d 673 (1984); People v White, 392 Mich 404, 424-425; 221 NW2d 357
(1974), cert den sub nom Michigan v White, 420 US 912; 95 S Ct 835; 42 L Ed 2d 843 (1975).
As for defendant’s written statement, we conclude that the trial court did not err in rejecting
defendant’s motion to suppress. In Brown, the United States Supreme Court observed that “[i]n order
for the causal chain, between the illegal arrest and the statements made subsequent thereto to be
broken,” the statement must not only be voluntary, but must also “be ‘sufficiently an act of free will to
purge the primary taint’” of an illegal arrest. Brown, supra at 602-603, quoting Wong Sung v United
States, 371 US 471, 486; 83 S Ct 407; 9 L Ed 2d 441 (1963). When determining whether a causal
connection exists between an unlawful detention and a given statement, “we look at: (1) the time lapse
between the arrest and the statement, (2) the flagrancy of the official misconduct, (3) any intervening
circumstances, and (4) any antecedent circumstances.” Mallory, supra at 243 n 8. Accord Dunaway
v New York, 442 US 200, 218; 99 S Ct 2248; 60 L Ed 2d 824 (1979); Brown, supra at 603-604.
After reviewing the record, we are convinced that any alleged taint associated with defendant’s
arrest was sufficiently purged, thus breaking the causal chain between the arrest and the statement.
While the time lapse between the arrest and the making of the statement was relatively short, we do not
believe that this fact is dispositive. See LaFave & Scott, Criminal Procedure, § 9.4, p 478
(Abridgment, 1992) (observing “that temporal proximity is the least important factor involved”). Of
more significance is the lack of evidence establishing that the arrest was the result of flagrant misconduct
by the police. For example, there is no indication in the record to show that defendant was arrested
either “in the hope that something might turn up,” Brown, supra at 605, or with the purpose of
obtaining a confession. Mallory, supra at 243. Further, we again note that the record establishes that
defendant was advised of and understood his Miranda rights before making the statement. Finally, we
can find no relevant intervening circumstances. People v Spinks, 206 Mich App 488, 497; 522 NW2d
875 (1994). Given these circumstances, we conclude that the statement was properly admitted into
/s/ Kathleen Jansen
/s/ Donald E. Holbrook, Jr.
/s/ Barbara B. MacKenzie
People v Walker (On Rehearing), 374 Mich 331; 132 NW2d 87 (1965).
Miranda v Arizona, 384 US 436; 86 S Ct 1602; 16 L Ed 2d 694 (1966).