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150661 - People v Stephanie White

The People of the State of Michigan,
 
Randy L. Rice
 
Plaintiff-Appellee,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Saginaw – Kaczmarek, R.)
 
Stephanie White,
 
Peter Jon Van Hoek
 
Defendant-Appellant.
 

Summary

 

Defendant Stephanie White, mother of Stephen White, was convicted of resisting or obstructing a police officer during a search of her house while the officer was looking for her son. Stephanie White contends that the evidence was insufficient to conclude that Officer Brent Green’s entry into her home was lawful.

 

 

Stephen White had five outstanding arrest warrants, one of which identified Stephanie White’s home in Bridgeport Township as his address. When Officer Green approached the home, he saw three people including Stephen White through a screen in the back door. The other two people were Stephanie White’s 13-year-old son and a workman fixing the kitchen sink. Stephanie White was upstairs. Stephen White started to open the back door but quickly turned and fled when he saw Officer Green.

 

 

Stephanie White, who was upstairs at the time, came downstairs and asked Green what he was doing. Conflicting testimony exists about what happened next. White repeatedly stated that the officer could not search her house without a warrant but said she did not prevent him from the search. The officer testified she put her arm up and turned in front of him to obstruct him. Green informed her that he did not need a warrant because he had seen Stephen White. Defendant Stephanie White told Green that her son was not in the home and that he should leave. Green replied that he would leave after he confirmed her son was not there.

 

 

 

Green said White continued to obstruct him and yell about needing a search warrant. Green told White that he would handcuff her if she did not sit down. White denied assaulting the officer, stating that all she did was to put out her hand to keep him from going upstairs but the officer pushed past her and went up the stairs. As she became more irate, and he was concerned for his safety because he didn’t know if Stephen White was still in the house or armed, Green attempted to handcuff her. White resisted and Green pinned her against the wall to handcuff and arrest her.

 

 

 

The prosecutor charged Stephanie White with resisting or obstructing a police officer, and a jury found her guilty. The trial court sentenced White to serve 18 months’ probation.

 

 

 

White appealed. In an unpublished opinion dated October 21, 2014, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court. White appealed, and in an order dated June 5, 2015, the Supreme Court ordered oral argument on whether to grant the application or take other action.