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154814 - People v Darrell John Wilder

The People of the State of Michigan,
 
Jason W. Williams
 
Plaintiff-Appellee,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Wayne – Talon, L.)
 
Darrell John Wilder,
 
Jacqueline J. McCann
 
Defendant-Appellant.
Adrienne N. Young

Summary

Two police officers claimed that as they drove toward a group of people standing near a car in a vacant lot, they saw defendant pull a handgun from his waistband and place it in the trunk of the car. Defendant was charged with various weapon offenses. At trial, the defense called defendant’s wife, Tameachi Wilder, as a witness. She testified on direct examination that she did not see defendant with a gun on the day of the offense, that they had no guns in their house, and that defendant did not own a gun. On cross-examination, the prosecutor asked whether she knew defendant to carry guns, and she responded no. The trial court, over objection by the defense, permitted the prosecutor to ask the witness whether she knew of defendant’s prior weapons convictions, finding that defense counsel’s questions on direct examination opened the door for the prosecutor’s cross-examination. The jury acquitted defendant of carrying a concealed weapon, but convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm and felony-firearm. The Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion, holding that the cross-examination was proper. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address (1) whether the trial court erred by allowing the prosecutor to cross-examine defendant’s wife about defendant’s prior weapons convictions, (2) whether the prosecutor improperly raised a collateral issue to admit evidence of defendant’s prior felony convictions through impeachment, see People v Stanaway, 446 Mich 643 (1994), and (3) whether any error was harmless.