April, 2019

  Subscribers to the Criminal Defense Resource Center’s online resources, found at www.sado.org, have access to more than 1,800 appellate pleadings filed by SADO Attorneys in the last five years.  The brief bank is updated regularly and is open to anyone who wants to subscribe to online access.  On our site, briefs are searchable by keyword, results can be organized by relevance or date, and the pleadings can be filtered by court of filing.  Below are some of the issues presented in briefs added to our brief bank in the last few weeks. For confidentiality purposes, names of clients and witnesses have been removed.

BB 320400:  The nearly decade-long delay in charging the defendant with this crime violated his constitutional rights to due process, to a fair trial and to present a defense causing him actual prejudice at trial that was not outweighed by the “laziness” of the police. His conviction must be vacated.

BB 320499:  Defendant was denied his right to discovery, his right of confrontation, and his right to due process by the intentional destruction of a key piece of evidence before an independent investigator was able to examine the vehicle.

BB 320516:  Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to improper expert testimony that the complainant suffered “probable pediatric abuse,” as well as to the expert’s hearsay account of the complainant’s allegations.

BB 320517:  The trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion for plea withdrawal because she would not have submitted a nolo contendere plea had she not been advised by her attorney that she would be convicted of a felony if she went to trial and that a nolo contendere plea tells the trial court that you are not guilty but you do not want to go to trial. Both pieces of advice constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.

BB 320519:  Defendant is entitled to additional jail credit for sheriff good time while serving his probation violation sentence.

BB 320523:  The trial court reversibly erred when it admitted highly prejudicial and irrelevant evidence under MRE 404(b) of a separate shooting incident for which the defendant was suspected.

BB 320537:  The trial court reversibly erred by sentencing the defendant in excess of the guidelines range without acknowledging or recognizing its departure. The defendant is also entitled to resentencing because the sentence imposed is disproportionate.

BB 320542:  Where the trial judge asked a number of questions of the prosecution’s most important witness, which improperly acted to bolster the witness’s testimonial credibility, the trial judge reversibly erred in denying the defense motion for mistrial.

BB 320543:  MCL 750.81a and MCL 750.84 contain contradictory and mutually exclusive provisions such that the Legislature did not intend a defendant to be convicted of both crimes for the same conduct. Defendant’s convictions for both thus violate the state and federal constitutional prohibitions on double jeopardy.

BB 320544:  The trial court’s failure to respond to the jury’s question concerning a crucial point of law denied defendant his right to a properly instructed jury and allowed a conviction based on insufficient evidence.

BB 320546:  The defendant had a due process right to be sentenced by a judge free from even the appearance of bias. The judge was admittedly not an unbiased and impartial judge. Resentencing before a different judge is required.

BB 320548:  The trial court reversibly erred in denying the defense’s request that the jury be instructed that to be guilty of first-degree child abuse the defendant had to have intended the act and intended to cause serious physical harm or have known that serious physical harm would result, from People v Maynor, and/or the trial court reversibly erred in its response to the jury’s question during deliberations, again declining to give guidance in this regard as requested by the defense.

BB 320549:  The court below should not have based its sentence even in part on the supposition that the defendant committed offenses for which the jury acquitted him.

BB 320557:  The trial court lacked jurisdiction to try and convict the defendant while his timely application for leave to appeal was pending in this Court.

BB 320559:  The sentence is invalid because it is based on impermissible double-counting.

by John Zevalking
Associate Editor