Local Success: September 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
SADO’s CDRC Subscription information is available by contacting Heather Waara at

Timothy A. Doman won a motion for new trial for his client August 5, 2020, in the 28th Judicial (Wexford County) Circuit Court on grounds that prior trial counsel should have challenged post-Miranda statements of the client and, by not doing so, rendered ineffective assistance. The trial court agreed on both bases. The case involved inadequate Miranda recitation where the arresting officer advised only of the right to have a lawyer but did not also advise that the right extended to being present both before and during interrogation, as set forth in People v. Mathews, 324 Mich. App. 416 (2018). The trial court noted that a new trial was necessary, even though the evidence against the client was otherwise strong.

Mr. Doman also, on August 31, 2020, was able to get a client’s plea withdrawn in the 10th Judicial (Saginaw County) Circuit Court in a fraud case due to a misunderstanding about the amount of restitution that would have to be paid pursuant to the plea agreement.

Jennifer J. France, Chippewa County Public Defender, got a probation violation dismissed on August 10, 2020, after the allegation – that the client violated a state law – could not be established before the client was convicted of the new offense. Ms. France also got assault with intent to do great bodily harm and domestic violence charges against her client – who faced fourth habitual sentencing – dismissed at the preliminary examination after the complaining witness refused to testify and said that the police had told her what to say.

Ashley Ball, Assistant Public Defender in Ms. France’s office, got a domestic violence charge dismissed, even though the client had violated specialty court probation by drinking and allegedly committing a new offense, domestic violence. The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the new charge, which allowed the client to remain in the specialty court program. In a separate case, Ms. Ball was able to convince the court to remove a no contact order for her mentally ill client; the no contact order, which involved the client’s child, had exacerbated the client’s condition.

Mitchell T. Foster got a 5 to 25-year prison term for probation violation vacated in the 54th Judicial (Tuscola County) Circuit Court.

Suzanna Kostovski was able to get her client’s guilty plea – for possession with intent to deliver heroin – withdrawn, the sentence vacated, and the charge dismissed with prejudice August 25, 2020, in the 3rd Judicial (Wayne County) Circuit Court. The primary officer in the case pleaded guilty, one month after Ms. Kostovski’s client was sentenced, in federal court to taking bribes from a drug dealer, and a second officer involved in the execution of the search warrant was under investigation for similar allegations.

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor