Kavanagh, C. J. Williams, Levin, Coleman, and Fitzgerald, JJ., concurred with Kavanagh, C. J. Lindemer and Ryan, JJ., took no part in the decision of this case.
-- Fair Trial -- Delayed Appeal -- Applicable Rule of Law.
Standards of criminal procedure and what constitutes a "fair trial" have changed in the past twenty-five years and many practices considered acceptable in 1951 would not be countenanced today; a defendant's conviction in 1951 of first-degree murder is affirmed where a thorough review of issues concerning prejudicial publicity and the admission of certain evidence raised in a delayed appeal in the light of the law existing in 1951 and of rulings made since that time is not persuasive that the defendant did not receive a fair trial.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kavanagh
Ray Lee Olson was convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in Kalamazoo Circuit Court, Lucien F. Sweet, J., in 1951. Confessions by Olson and a co-defendant were introduced at trial. A Walker hearing was ordered in 1970 and the circuit court found Olson's confession was voluntary. The defendant also has raised issues concerning the admission of other evidence and denial of a change of venue. The Court of Appeals, Bronson, P. J., and Quinn and Danhof, JJ., denied application for delayed appeal (Docket No. 15369). Defendant appeals. Held: A lengthy recitation of facts and legal issues in this case would serve no good purpose. No new legal ground would be broken and no new law explained. Considering the defendant's arguments in the light of the law existing in 1951 and rulings made since that time, the argument that the defendant did not receive a fair trial is not persuasive.
This appeal is from a 1951 conviction of first-degree murder. Allegations of error are made concerning prejudicial publicity and the admission of certain evidence. We affirm.
In 1950, Carolyn Drown was murdered near Kalamazoo. Two men, one of them appellant Olson, were convicted by a jury of first-degree murder for that killing.
Confessions of both defendants were introduced at trial. Because of the United States Supreme Court's subsequent decision in Jackson v Denno, 378 U.S. 368; 84 S Ct 1774; 12 L Ed 2d 908 (1964), and our resulting decision in People v Walker (On Rehearing), 374 Mich 331; 132 NW2d 87 (1965), a hearing was ordered in December, 1970, to determine the voluntariness of Olson's confession. The confession was found to be voluntary. The admission of other evidence has also been challenged, including statements of the codefendant, material seized from Olson's automobile, and testimony concerning a polygraph examination. Defendant also urges that his motion for change of venue should have been granted due to prejudicial publicity.
A lengthy recitation of the facts and legal issues involved in this case would serve no good purpose. No new legal ground would be broken and no new law explained.
Our standards of criminal procedure, and our notion of what constitutes a "fair trial" have changed in the quarter century since this trial occurred. Many practices considered acceptable in 1951 would not be countenanced in 1976. More importantly, they would not be employed by law enforcement agencies today.
We have made a thorough review of the issues presented. We have considered appellant's arguments in light of the law existing in 1951, and have considered application of rulings made since that time. We are not persuaded that this defendant did not receive a fair trial. The conviction is affirmed.