First Degree Felony Murder and Assault With Intent to Rob

In People v. Poole 444 Mich 151; 506 NW2d 505 (1993), three defendants were bound over on charges of first-degree felony murder and assault with intent to rob while being armed. Downer, one of the defendants, told his cousin that he had "killed somebody" in an attempted robbery in which one of the other defendants, Poole, actively participated. Downer had volunteered the confession to his cousin and relayed the information, including statements inculpating Poole, in a narrative manner. Id., 154-155. The Court ruled that the Downer's statements to his cousin satisfied the requirements of MRE 804(b)(3) and the Confrontation Clause. Id., 157. The Supreme Court held that whether a statement against penal interest that also inculpates an accomplice bears sufficient indicia of reliability to provide the trier of fact a satisfactory basis for evaluating the truth of the statement, whether it has particularized guarantees of trustworthiness sufficient to satisfy Confrontation Clause concerns, must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Id., 163-164. The Court must consider he circumstances surrounding the making of the statements as well as its contents. Id., 164.