Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Under Michigan law, there are some acts that, while they form the basis of criminal charges, are justified in certain situations. For example, if a person uses force against another person, they may be charged with an assault crime, but if they took such action to protect themselves or someone else, the charges against them might be dismissed. In a recent ruling, a Michigan court discussed what evidence a criminal defendant must produce to establish the use of force was appropriate. If you are charged with assault or any other crime, it is in your best interest to confer with a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the defendants, husband, and wife, were charged with first and third-degree home invasion. The charges arose out of an incident in which they, along with the husband’s mother, went to the home of another man to pick up the mother’s partner. When they arrived, the man reportedly opened the door briefly and then grabbed the partner and dragged her into another room.

Reportedly, the husband and wife heard the partner screaming for help and entered the home without the man’s permission. A physical altercation ensued. A jury convicted the defendants as charged. They appealed, arguing that their attorneys were ineffective because they failed to request a jury instruction on the defense of others. The intermediate appellate court affirmed their convictions, and they appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. Continue Reading ›

The United States Constitution grants criminal defendants numerous protections and rights. For example, the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution affords people charged with crimes the right to a public trial. If the right is violated and a criminal defendant is tried in a closed courtroom, it may constitute grounds for dismissal. Recently, a Michigan court discussed the right to a public trial and what evidence a defendant must offer to prove their rights were violated. If you were charged with a crime, it is important to understand your rights, and you should speak to a trusted  Michigan criminal defense lawyer.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with multiple crimes following a shooting death. The case proceeded to trial, and during a recess, a juror came into contact with the victim’s child’s mother in the hallway. The trial court subsequently removed the woman and all spectators from the courtroom and ordered them not to return for the remainder of the trial. The jury convicted the defendant of multiple felonies. He then appealed and moved to remand the matter for an evidentiary hearing, arguing in part that his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial had been violated.

It is reported that the intermediate appellate court granted his motion. Following the evidentiary hearing, he filed a motion for a new trial which was denied on the grounds that the courtroom was not locked, it was merely cleared, and that even if it was closed, he waived the right to a public trial by failing to object. He then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. Continue Reading ›

People wrongfully convicted of crimes have numerous avenues for seeking justice. For example, they may be able to file appeals or petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus. They must comply with statutory procedures prior to filing their petition, however, and if they fail to do so, their petition will likely be denied, as illustrated in a recent Michigan ruling. If you believe you were wrongfully convicted of a crime or need assistance with another criminal matter, it is in your best interest to contact a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to determine your options.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted by a jury of numerous weapons offenses and assault with intent to commit murder. The trial court deemed him a third-offense habitual offender and sentenced him to concurrent prison terms of 30 to 60 years, 15 to thirty years, and 34 months to 10 years for his respective crimes. He subsequently appealed, arguing in part that police seized evidence from his home without showing him a warrant in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The state court denied his appeal, and he subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the district court.

Requirements for Seeking a Writ of Habeas Corpus

After a criminal defendant files a petition for writ of habeas corpus, the court must undertake a preliminary review to evaluate whether it is clear from the face of the petition, including any attached exhibits, that the defendant is not entitled to relief in the district court. If the court finds the petitioner is not in fact entitled to relief, it must dismiss the petition. Continue Reading ›

Many people are reluctant to talk to the police about criminal activity due to loyalty to their friends and family, fear of implicating themselves, and other reasons. Regardless of their motive, people who refuse to participate in criminal investigations or lie to the police may face criminal charges. This was demonstrated in a recent Michigan case, in which the court discussed the elements of the crime of making a false statement to a peace officer during the investigation of a crime. If you are accused of making false statements or any other crime, it is advisable to speak to a skilled Michigan criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the state charged the defendant with four counts of making misleading or false statements to a police officer during the course of a criminal investigation. Specifically, the defendant, who was the President of a University, was questioned about her knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against a sports medicine doctor at the school. The police alleged that she falsely claimed she did not know the identity of the doctor during a Title IX investigation in 2014 or the nature and substance of the investigation. The defendant filed a motion to quash bind over. The Circuit Court granted the motion, quashing the bind over of the defendant and dismissing the case. The state appealed.

The recent enactment of the First Step Act has allowed many inmates to receive reduced sentences. As the courts continue to navigate the parameters of the Act, they are clarifying the guidelines for determining who is eligible for a sentence reduction. This was illustrated in a recent Michigan case, in which a defendant appealed the denial of his request for a reduced sentence for his bank robbery conviction. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer about your potential defenses.

The Procedural History

It is reported that the defendant was charged with and convicted of robbing a bank. He was sentenced to 165 months in prison and is serving his sentence in federal prison. He moved for a reduced sentence under the First Step Act, citing his age and other health conditions as reasons for his concerns that he may develop severe complications from COVID-19. The government filed a response in opposition to his motion. The court ultimately denied his motion without a hearing.

Sentence Reductions Under the First Step Act

The court explained that district courts could only modify a defendant’s sentence if they have statutory authority to do so. The First Step Act provides them with such authority. Specifically, it states, in the relevant part, that upon a defendant’s motion, a court may reduce a defendant’s sentence after considering multiple enumerated factors if it finds that there are compelling and extraordinary reasons that warrant such a reduction. Continue Reading ›

Federal law typically precludes people convicted of felonies from possessing guns. The courts have some leeway about sentencing people convicted of the offense of being a felon in possession of a firearm, but in many cases, they issue substantial sentences. Recently, a Michigan court issued a ruling explaining what factors are relevant for sentencing purposes following an unlawful possession of a firearm conviction in a case in which the defendant argued his sentence was unreasonable. If you are charged with a weapons offense, it is wise to speak to a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to determine what measures you can take to protect your interests.

The Defendant’s Charge and Conviction

It is alleged that police officers were looking for the defendant, as he was absconding from parole, and there were seven warrants out for his arrest. They received permission from a homeowner to search his house, and during the search, they found the defendant in the basement. He was sleeping on a mattress on the floor near an unloaded pistol and a magazine.

It is reported that the defendant was subsequently charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to fifty-one months in prison. He appealed, arguing that his sentence was substantively unreasonable. Continue Reading ›

In Michigan, it is unlawful to engage in sexual activity with a person who is unable to consent. In attempting to prove a person engaged in criminal sexual conduct, the prosecution will typically rely on circumstantial evidence, which may include proof that the person previously engaged in similar acts. While evidence of prior bad acts is inadmissible to establish guilt, it can be introduced to show a motive, plan, or scheme, as discussed in a recent Michigan ruling. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a sex offense, it is in your best interest to confer with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to assess what evidence the state may attempt to use against you.

The Alleged Crime

It is reported that the victim and the defendant attended a work event together. After the event, they went out drinking along with other individuals. The victim became intoxicated and returned to another companion’s hotel room, where she became sick and then fell asleep.

Allegedly, she awoke hours later and noticed that the defendant’s arm was around her and his hand was feeling around inside of her underwear. The victim elbowed the defendant, who stopped. He was later charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was convicted, after which he appealed. Continue Reading ›

The Michigan legislature takes great measures to protect children from physical or sexual abuse and staunchly prosecutes people involved in sex crimes against children. For example, under Michigan law, a person may be convicted of a sex crime even if they have no physical interaction with the minor victim. This was illustrated in a recent Michigan case in which the court affirmed a defendant’s conviction for using a computer to commit a crime based on evidence that he attempted to submit the victim’s mother to commit illicit acts against the victim. If you are charged with committing a sex crime, it is smart to meet with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to examine what arguments you may be able to assert in your defense.

History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant engaged in a video chat with the victim, who was fourteen, and her mother. During the conversation, the defendant expressed that he had a sexual dream about the victim and that he had previously engaged in sexual activity with a mother and daughter. At some point after that, the victim asked her mother to rub her stomach, but her mother rubbed near her breasts and underwear. The defendant later met the victim and her mother in a hotel room and engaged in sexual intercourse with the mother. He was later charged with numerous offenses, including using a computer to commit a crime. He was convicted, after which he appealed.

Using a Computer to Commit a Crime

Under Michigan law, in order to convict a defendant of using a computer to commit a crime, the prosecution must show that the defendant used a computer or a computer program, system, or network, to either commit, conspire or attempt to commit, or solicit another person to commit a crime. A person can be convicted of this offense regardless of whether they are convicted of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit or soliciting another party to commit the underlying offense. Continue Reading ›

In criminal matters, there is certain evidence the state cannot use to demonstrate a defendant’s guilt. For example, hearsay is generally precluded from use at trial. There are exceptions, though, that allow hearsay evidence to come in. Recently, a Michigan court explained the exceptions to the rule against hearsay in a case in which the defendant appealed his murder conviction. If you are charged with murder or any other serious offense, you should confer with a Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to assess what evidence the state may use against you.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant and the victim, who were married, lived together with the victim’s adult daughter and her son. The defendant and the victim began arguing one morning, and their disagreement became physical. The victim then kicked the defendant out of the house. Later that evening, the victim’s daughter was in her room when she again heard the victim and defendant arguing. She then heard gunshots and called 911. After she left her room, she found the victim, who had been shot.

Allegedly, the victim died from her wounds. The defendant was charged with and convicted of murder. He appealed, arguing, among other things, that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence at trial. Continue Reading ›

The recent passage of the First Step Act (the Act) modified the law with regard to the release of federal prisoners for considerate reasons. Following the rise of COVID-19, many people incarcerated in federal prisons have sought release under the Act. As demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Michigan court, however, it can be challenging to demonstrate that compassionate release is warranted. If you have questions regarding whether you may be able to obtain a reduced sentence, it is wise to confer with a Michigan criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

The Defendant’s Allegations

It is alleged that in 2018, the defendant was convicted of multiple drug offenses and sentenced to 180 months in imprisonment in a federal penitentiary. In June 2020, she filed a motion for compassionate relief under the Act. In support of her motion, she argued that her obesity, history of heart surgery, and hypertension increased her risk of becoming severely ill or dying if she contracted COVID-19. The court ultimately denied her motion.

Compassionate Release Under the First Step Act

The Act modified the law relating to the compassionate release of federal prisoners, and in doing so allowed federal district courts to consider motions by incarcerated people asking for a reduction in their sentences. Under the Act, the courts must engage in a three-step test before granting a motion for compassionate release. First, they must find that compelling and extraordinary reasons exist that warrant a reduction in the sentence in question. Second, the court must make sure that the reduction aligns with applicable policy statements issued by the Sentencing Commission. Finally, the court must weigh all the relevant sentencing factors. Continue Reading ›

Contact Information