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01/27/76 PEOPLE v. BRAITHWAITE

January 27, 1976

PEOPLE
v.
BRAITHWAITE



Appeal from Jackson, Gordon W. Britten, J.

Allen, P. J., and T. M. Burns and D. E. Holbrook, Jr., JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. -- Sentencing -- Background of Defendant -- Constitutional Law -- Due Process.

A sentencing Judge needs complete information on a defendant's background to set a proper individualized sentence, but must always act within the dictates of due process.

2. -- Sentencing -- Prior Convictions -- Convictions in Foreign Countries -- Constitutional Law -- Due Process.

A sentencing court may not consider for sentencing purposes any prior conviction of the defendant which was rendered in a foreign country, because such a conviction may not have been rendered in compliance with United States concepts of due process.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

Bruce Braithwaite was convicted of prison escape. Defendant appeals.

Defendant was charged with prison escape, MCLA 750.193; MSA 28.390. He pled guilty to the charge. A sentence of 10 months to be served consecutive to the term presently being served was imposed on September 12, 1974. Defendant appeals as of right.

Defendant raises several issues. The issue raised concerning the integrity of the guilty plea hearing is without merit. Guilty Plea Cases, 395 Mich 96; 235 NW2d 132 (1975). Defendant's conviction is affirmed.

Only one of the issues concerning sentencing warrants Discussion.

The presentencing report noted that defendant had been convicted of a crime in Canada. The record clearly indicates that this conviction greatly influenced the sentencing Judge in giving defendant a prison term to serve rather than probation. Defendant argues that the Canadian conviction should not have been considered by the trial court in imposing sentence. We agree.

A conviction under Canadian law is not the same as a conviction in an American jurisdiction. We can properly take judicial notice of the fact that in many ways, the constitutional guarantees which our system of Justice protects are different in both kind and degree than those recognized even in modern democratic systems such as Canada's. A conviction in a foreign jurisdiction may often have been impossible were the accused arrested, tried, and sentenced under the same standards as in the United States.

A sentencing Judge, of course, needs complete information on a defendant's background to set a proper individualized sentence. People v McFarlin, 389 Mich 557; 208 NW2d 504 (1973). But he must always act within the dictates of ...


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