Articles Posted in Evidence

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 ›

Certain crimes include an element of intent. As such, if the prosecution is unable to demonstrate that the defendant possessed the state of mind needed to commit the crime, it should not be able to obtain a conviction. Recently, a Michigan court discussed burdens of proof with regard to intent in criminal matters in an opinion issued in a case in which the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder. If you are faced with criminal charges, it is advisable to confer with a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney to discuss your potential defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that first responders found the victim dead in her bed. The defendant, who had a tumultuous romantic relationship with the victim, placed the 911 call but gave differing accounts as to what happened. The autopsy revealed that she died due to neck compression. The defendant was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. At the trial, the defendant asserted that the victim’s death was caused by erotic asphyxiation and was accidental and requested the assistance of an expert to prove his assertion. The court denied his request, finding that as the defendant set forth an affirmative defense, he bore the burden of negating intent. The jury convicted the defendant, and he appealed.

Establishing Intent in Criminal Matters

The salient issue on appeal was whether the defendant’s assertion that the victim’s death was accidental and was caused by erotic asphyxiation was an affirmative defense and therefore required the defendant to negate the element of intent. The court ultimately determined that it was not and vacated the judgment. Continue Reading ›

In attempting to establish a defendant’s guilt, the State will frequently try to introduce evidence of a scheme or motive. There are restrictions as to what is admissible, however. For example, in most instances, the State cannot introduce evidence of other crimes to show a defendant’s guilt. This was demonstrated in a recent Michigan case in which the court ruled that evidence of other crimes was inadmissible in a case in which the defendant is charged with first-degree murder. If you are charged with murder or any other violent crime, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney about your rights.

The History of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant’s co-worker, who per eyewitness reports was last seen with the defendant, was missing. The police began investigating her disappearance and questioned the defendant. He advised them that he was working when she disappeared, even though he was not. Thus, the police became suspicious of the defendant and obtained a warrant to search his apartment. As part of the search, they performed a DNA analysis that indicated the presence of the skin cells on the defendant’s rug.

Allegedly, the State charged the defendant with the first-degree murder of the co-worker solely due to the DNA evidence. Before the trial, the prosecution filed a motion in limine asking the court to permit the introduction of evidence that the defendant had a prior conviction for strangling and attempting to rape another woman. The defense attorney argued such information was inadmissible other acts evidence, which would be used to unjustly indicate the defendant’s propensity to commit crimes. The trial court found in favor of the defendant, and the State appealed. Continue Reading ›

In many assault cases, the prosecution relies on testimony from the victim and any witnesses to the incident to establish the defendants’ guilt. Thus, if they testify that the defendant was not the person who committed the alleged offense, it may be challenging for the prosecution to prove its case. In matters in which witnesses recant earlier statements in which they indicated the defendant’s guilt, however, they may be found to lack credibility, and the defendant may be convicted despite their favorable testimony. This was shown in a recent Michigan ruling in which the court denied the defendant’s motion for new trial after his assault conviction. If you are accused of assault or any other crime, it is advisable to meet with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to discuss your potential defenses.

The Assault and Subsequent Trial

It is reported that the defendant and the victim were involved in a verbal altercation, after which the victim got into a vehicle and began to drive away. The defendant then began to shoot at the vehicle. He was charged with assault with intent to commit murder and other crimes. At his trial, the victim and his mother, who was at the scene of the incident, both testified that they did not know who shot at the vehicle.

Allegedly, the prosecution then presented evidence of earlier statements made by the victim and his mother in which they identified the defendant as the shooter, including a letter from the mother to the police. The defendant was ultimately convicted as charged. He then moved for a new trial, arguing in part that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The court denied his motion, and he appealed. Continue Reading ›

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