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04/21/76 PEOPLE v. HAACK

April 21, 1976

PEOPLE
v.
HAACK



Levin, J. Kavanagh, C. J., and Williams and Coleman, JJ., concurred with Levin, J. Fitzgerald, Lindemer, and Ryan, JJ., took no part in the decision of this case.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. -- Plea of Guilty -- Factual Basis.

Direct questioning of a defendant by the court on taking a plea of guilty is required by court rule for the purpose of establishing the crime and the defendant's participation in the commission of the crime; this is a precaution against involuntary or induced false pleas of guilty and against subsequent false claims of innocence (GCR 1963, 785).

2. -- Plea of Guilty -- Factual Basis.

No plea of guilty should be accepted by a court until facts sufficient to establish the defendant's guilt have been set out in the record.

3. Homicide -- Murder -- Intent to Kill.

Intent to kill is an element of murder which may be inferred by the trier of fact where the natural tendency of a defendant's behavior is to cause death or great bodily harm, even though the defendant may not have actually intended to kill the deceased.

4. Homicide -- Murder -- Elements of Crime.

A person who kills another is guilty of the crime of murder if the homicide is criminal, neither justifiable nor excusable, and if it is committed with "malice aforethought", the intention to kill, actual or implied, under circumstances which do not constitute excuse or justification or mitigate the degree of the killing to manslaughter; a killing may be murder even though the actor harbored no hatred or ill will against the victim and even though he acted on the spur of the moment.

5. -- Plea of Guilty -- Inferences.

A factual basis for acceptance of a plea of guilty exists if an inculpatory inference can reasonably be drawn by a jury from the facts admitted by the defendant even if an exculpatory inference could also be drawn and defendant asserts the latter is the correct inference.

6. Homicide -- Second-Degree Murder -- Plea of Guilty.

A trial Judge could properly reject a defendant's disclaimer of intent to kill and accept his plea of guilty of second-degree murder on the defendant's statement that he had pointed a revolver he knew was loaded at the deceased and intentionally pulled the trigger.

7. -- Plea of Guilty -- Acceptance.

A plea of guilty may be accepted even though the defendant is unsure of his guilt and even where he denies his guilt if after careful inquiry the Judge satisfies himself that there is a substantial factual basis for the plea and that the plea ...


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