Local Success: July, 2020

Below are trial court victories of our subscribers as reported on SADO’s Forum—an online community for criminal defense attorneys. Subscribers are encouraged to submit their stories of success on SADO’s Forum and/or directly to Associate Editor Neil Leithauser at
nleithauserattorney@comcast.net. SADO’s CDRC Subscription information is available by contacting Heather Waara at

Bernard Jocuns had a successful Walker hearing in the 54th Judicial (Tuscola County) Circuit Court following which the court suppressed the defendant’s statement.

Steven Helton, an Assistant Defender with SADO, obtained a stipulation from the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office for a new trial for Mr. Helton’s client; the prosecutor also stipulated to a new trial for one codefendant, represented by attorney Cecilia Quirindongo-Baunsoe, and stipulated to vacate a probation violation order for a second codefendant, represented by attorney Danielle S. Cadoret. The three defendants were charged with assault with intent to commit murder; Mr. Helton’s client and Ms. Quirindongo-Baunsoe’s client were convicted of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and felony firearm. Ms. Cadoret’s client was acquitted of the assault charges but found to be in violation of an order of probation. During the appeal, it was discovered that some police contact with a res gestae/eyewitness witness had not been recorded or reported and was not contained within the police reports, and footage from several bodycams was not initially provided to the defense and only became belatedly available. Additionally, it appeared that initial statements by the hospitalized-complaining witness to an investigating police officer were deleted from the police file, and a report of a later interview was instead substituted. Also, the police officer who replaced the witness statements testified that she obtained the initial statements from the hospitalized witness; she hadn’t.

Robert L. Levi won a new trial July 13, 2020, for his client in the 3rd Judicial (Wayne County) Circuit Court in a CSC case after lengthy post-conviction proceedings. There was a motion for new trial filed, a hearing was held, and the motion was denied. A second set of evidentiary hearings followed wherein newly discovered evidence was presented of coercion of the child-witness. The motion was again denied. Subsequently, the Michigan Supreme Court remanded the matter to the trial court for reconsideration in light of the newer standard (in People v. Johnson, 502 Mich. 541 (2018)) for evaluating newly discovered evidence. On remand, the circuit judge, the Honorable Michael M. Hathaway, ordered a new trial. 

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor