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People v. Putman

Court of Appeals of Michigan

February 19, 2015

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MICHAEL BRIAN PUTMAN, Defendant-Appellant

Page 594

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 595

Wayne Circuit Court. LC No. 13-005448-FC.

For People of MI., Plaintiff-Appellee: Timothy A. Baughman, Detroit, MI.

For Michael Brian Putman, Defendant-Appellant: Jonathan B.D. Simon, Birmingham, MI.

Before: MURRAY, P.J., and HOEKSTRA and WILDER, JJ.

Page 596

[309 Mich.App. 242] Per Curiam.

Defendant Michael B. Putman appeals as of right his jury-trial convictions of two counts of assault with intent to murder, MCL 750.83 possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm), MCL 750.227b armed robbery, MCL 750.529 and second-degree murder, MCL 750.317, after he shot three people, one fatally, while robbing a residence. Defendant was sentenced to 15 to 30 years' imprisonment for each of his convictions for assault with intent to murder, two years' imprisonment for his felony-firearm conviction, 15 to 30 years' imprisonment for his armed-robbery conviction, and 25 to 50 years' imprisonment for his second-degree-murder conviction. For the reasons explained in this opinion, we affirm.

Defendant first contends that the trial court erred when it did not properly administer to the witnesses the oath to testify truthfully as required by MCL 600.1432(1). Further, defendant asserts that this failure by the trial court resulted in a violation of his Sixth Amendment right of confrontation and that trial counsel [309 Mich.App. 243] was ineffective for failing to object to the form of the oath.

Defendant did not object to the form of the oath given to the witnesses at trial. Therefore, the issue is unpreserved. See People v Metamora Water Serv, Inc, 276 Mich.App. 376, 382; 741 N.W.2d 61 (2007). This Court reviews unpreserved issues for plain error affecting a defendant's substantial rights. People v Carines, 460 Mich. 750, 763; 597 N.W.2d 130 (1999). In order for defendant to avoid forfeiture under the plain-error standard, he must show that (1) an error occurred, (2) the error was plain, meaning clear or obvious, (3) and the plain error affected substantial rights. Id. The third prong requires a showing of prejudice, which occurs when the error affected the outcome of the lower court proceedings. Id.

Under MCL 600.1432 and MCL 600.1434, witnesses in judicial proceedings must swear or affirm that their testimony will be true. Donkers v Kovach, 277 Mich.App. 366, 369; 745 N.W.2d 154 (2007). The typical manner for administering oaths is set forth in MCL 600.1432(1), which provides:

The usual mode of administering oaths now practiced in this state, by the person who swears holding up the right hand, shall be observed in all cases in which an oath may be administered by law except as otherwise provided by law. The oath shall commence, " You do solemnly swear or affirm" .

There are exceptions to this general rule, including MCL 600.1434, which provides that " [e]very person conscientiously opposed to taking an oath may, instead of swearing, solemnly and sincerely affirm, under the pains and penalties of perjury." Moreover, the administration of oaths and affirmations is a purely procedural matter, and it thus falls within the authority of [309 Mich.App. 244] our Supreme Court to promulgate rules governing the practices and procedures for ...


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