Local Success: Ingham & Macomb counties

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This month, we feature two cases from Ingham County and one from Macomb County, each involving a successful motion to suppress.

In the first Ingham case, litigated by Assistant Public Defender Stephen Milks, the court found that officers lacked reasonable suspicion for stopping Mr. Milks’ client because their suspicion was based only on (1) an accurate description of the client’s clothing, provided in an anonymous tip, and (2) the fact that he ran from them. But the prosecutor could not identify any suspicious behavior by the client before he ran away, and officers did nothing else to verify the tip. The judge also rejected the prosecutor’s argument that the officers could not do so because they did not have an opportunity to question the client before he ran.

In the second Ingham case, litigated by Assistant Public Defender Jonathan Forman, the court granted suppression because the officer extended the stop beyond the time necessary to conclude it. After completing his initial investigation, the officer noticed that Mr. Forman’s client had prior OWIs and used this information to conduct field sobriety tests and eventually get a warrant for a blood draw. The officer changed his testimony several times throughout the preliminary exam and the motion hearing and gave conflicting testimony about when he first observed signs of intoxication. Granting the motion to suppress, the court ultimately relied on the statements in the officer’s report that he did not observe any signs of intoxication until his second interaction with the client.

Finally, in Macomb County, attorneys Samantha Baker and David Steingold were also successful in their motion to suppress. Officers had stopped their client for changing lanes without a signal, then searched his car under the guise of conducting an inventory search. The officers claimed that they had arrested the client on outstanding warrants, but the body cam footage showed that the client was detained and not arrested. The prosecution did not subpoena any witnesses to the hearing, and the court granted the motion. The prosecution moved for reconsideration and if denied, for leave to appeal, arguing that the court was required to hold a hearing on the motion. The court denied both requests, and the prosecution dismissed the case.

Congratulations to all! 

Kathy Swedlow
CDRC Manager and Editor