Articles Posted in Assault

In Michigan, assault crimes range in severity, and the offense a defendant is charged with depends on the circumstances surrounding the alleged attack. Many assault crimes require the State to prove the defendant’s intent at the time the offense was committed, and if it cannot, the defendant may be able to argue that a lesser charge is appropriate. Recently, a Michigan court issued an opinion explaining jury instructions for lesser included offenses in assault cases, in a matter in which it ultimately determined that the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury per the defendant’s request. If you are charged with an assault crime, it is prudent to meet with a seasoned Michigan criminal defense lawyer to assess your potential defenses.

Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm. Prior to trial, he filed a motion asking the court to instruct the jury on the crime of assault and battery on the grounds that it was a lesser-included offense of assault with intent to do great bodily harm. He further asserted that a rational view of the evidence supported the instruction.

It is reported that during the oral argument the court held on the motion, the prosecution conceded that assault and battery was a lesser included offense of assault with intent to do great bodily harm but objected to the instruction regardless on the basis that the intent element of the charged offense was not disputed, as the defense argued that no assault occurred. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and he was convicted as charged. The defendant appealed, but his conviction was upheld. He then appealed to the Supreme Court of Michigan. Continue Reading ›

It is generally known that people who are charged with crimes cannot be forced to testify in their own defense. Many people are unaware, though, that although defendants cannot be compelled to defend themselves against the prosecutions’ allegations, they do have a constitutional right to present a defense, and if this right is violated, it may constitute grounds for a new trial. In a recent opinion issued in an assault case, a Michigan court discussed what an appellate court evaluates to determine whether a trial court violated a defendant’s right to present a defense. If you are accused of assault, you should meet with a Michigan criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

The Defendant’s Arrest and Trial

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous assault crimes following an altercation with his girlfriend and aunt. The defendant admitted that there was an argument but asserted that his aunt and girlfriend conspired to fabricate allegations against him. His aunt, however, stated that he attempted to stab her, gouged her face, and pointed a BB gun at her head, and his girlfriend testified that the defendant threw her to the ground and threatened her with a knife. A jury ultimately found the defendant guilty as charged. He appealed, arguing in part that the trial court violated his constitutional right to present a defense by excluding testimony regarding other acts.

The Right to Present a Defense

Upon reviewing the evidence, the appellate court denied the defendant’s appeal. The court explained that in order to preserve the issue of whether a trial court’s evidentiary ruling denied a defendant the right to offer a defense, the defendant has to raise the issue before the trial court. In the subject case, the defendant failed to argue at trial that the testimony in question was admissible under the Michigan Rules of Evidence or that the failure to admit such testimony denied him of the right to set forth a defense. Continue Reading ›

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