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.
Proving a Person Made False Statements to Law Enforcement
On appeal, the appellate court held that the state lacked sufficient evidence to show that the statements the defendant made to law enforcement were misleading or affirmatively false. The court elaborated the information was inadequate to allow an ordinarily prudent person to hold a reasonable belief that the defendant made a misleading or false statement, and therefore, there was no probable cause.
Further, the appellate court held that the state failed to demonstrate that the allegedly misleading or false statements made by the defendant were material. A false statement will be deemed material, for the purposes of the statute barring people from willfully and knowingly making false statements to a police officer about a material fact in a criminal investigation, if the person knows that the statement is false or is misleading and they are aware that it has a natural tendency to influence or is capable of influencing the decision making body.
Here, the appellate court found that the prosecution failed to establish the statements in question were material. Thus, it affirmed the trial court ruling.
Talk to a Capable Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney
People generally have an obligation to be truthful and candid during the course of criminal investigations, and if they are not, they may face serious repercussions. If you are being investigated for a crime or were recently charged with a criminal offense, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a capable Michigan criminal defense lawyer with the skills and experience needed to help you fight to protect your rights. You can contact Mr. Bernstein through the form online or by calling (734) 883-9584 to set up a meeting.