Michigan Court Discusses Sufficiency of Evidence Establishing Guilt for an Assault Crime

When a person is charged of violating a Michigan criminal statute, the prosecution must prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. If the evidence the state offers at trial is insufficient to sustain a conviction, but a defendant is nonetheless found guilty, they may have grounds for filing an appeal. Recently, a Michigan court discussed what evidence is sufficient to convict a defendant for assault in a case in which the defendant’s appeal was ultimately denied. If you are accused of an assault offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Michigan criminal defense attorney to assess what evidence may be used against you.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm while committing a felony. The charges arose out of an incident involving a minor, during which the defendant allegedly told the minor he would kill him and fired a gun at him. The defendant was convicted as charged, after which he appealed.

Sufficiency of Evidence Establishing Guilt for an Assault Crime

On appeal, the defendant argued that the evidence presented against him at trial was insufficient to sustain his conviction. The court ultimately disagreed and denied his appeal. In doing so, the court explained that sufficiency challenges are reviewed de novo. In reviewing the evidence in question, the court must view it in the light most favorable to the prosecution and evaluate whether a reasonable fact finder could determine that the prosecution established each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

As the jury observes the witnesses and the evidence and makes credibility determinations, the reviewing court should not interfere with the jury’s role in assessing the weight of the evidence. The court explained that circumstantial evidence and reasonable inferences arising from such evidence can constitute sufficient proof of the elements of a crime and noted that the prosecution does not need to negate every possible theory of innocence.

In the subject case, the court found that there was adequate evidence to support the defendant’s conviction; namely, a reasonable jury could find that the defendant attempted to commit a battery and, in doing so, placed the minor in fear of receiving an immediate battery. The court found the remainder of the defendant’s arguments unavailing. As such, the court denied the defendant’s appeal and affirmed his convictions.

Talk to a Trusted Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

A conviction for an assault crime can result in significant penalties.  If you are charged with assault, it is prudent to talk to an attorney about your possible defenses. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyer who can advise of your rights and help you to seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. You can contact Mr. Bernstein through the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a meeting.

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