Charges Dropped Against SADO Client Dominique Ramsey After Nearly 6 Years of Litigation

On October 30, 2020, the prosecutor dismissed the case against SADO client Dominque Ramsey and he was released after spending over five years in the Saginaw County Jail after his arrest on murder charges on June 25, 2015. A young man was shot on a street in Saginaw. Travis Sammons was accused of shooting the man and Dominque Ramsey of being the getaway driver. Mr. Ramsey was arrested while driving a car with Mr. Sammons as the passenger shortly after the murder. The police believed the vehicle was the same as the one the killer had left the scene in, and had pieced together video from various locations tracking what they said was the same car. That car had stopped along the way and people were seen on the video exiting and entering the car. There was no other evidence that Mr. Ramsey was involved in this murder: he did not match the description of the driver given by eyewitnesses, and no one identified him.

At trial, Mr. Ramsey was acquitted of the murder charge, but convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. Trial attorney Alan Crawford won a motion for directed verdict of acquittal and in the alternative a new trial in 2016. The judge ruled that it was an “extraordinary case” where the prosecution had not proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and was “duty-bound to set aside the verdict” to protect Mr. Ramsey’s right to due process. But the trial judge would not grant him bond. During the course of the next four years, the trial court would deny two more motions for bond, including one this year during the COVID-19 crisis.

The prosecution waited six months, and then filed an appeal in September 2016. SADO attorney Christine A. Pagac opposed the prosecution’s application and in December 2016, it was denied by the Court of Appeals. Mr. Ramsey’s case then made the first of three trips to the Michigan Supreme Court. In 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals, which then reviewed the case and in a dark day issued an opinion in 2018 reversing the trial court entirely and reinstating the conviction. We appealed again to the Michigan Supreme Court, which in early 2019 sent the case back again to the Court of Appeals to redo its analysis of the grant of the new trial because the Court of Appeals had applied the wrong legal standard. The Court of Appeals responded by sending the case back to the trial court again, and Judge Jackson again explained why he had granted a new trial. The Court of Appeals reversed him again, and in late 2019, we appealed again to the Michigan Supreme Court which in the meantime had granted the appeal of Mr. Sammons (who had likewise been convicted of conspiracy, but whose motions had been denied by the trial court). 

In early 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Sammons be given a new trial, and shortly thereafter ordered the Court of Appeals to take another look at Mr. Ramsey’s case based on its opinion in Sammons. In September 2020, the Court of Appeals finally agreed that Mr. Ramsey should be given a new trial. Instead of appealing, the prosecution dismissed the charges against Mr. Ramsey and he was (finally) released from jail the same day.  

MAACS represented Mr. Ramsey’s co-defendant Travis Sammons in his appeal of his conviction, winning a new trial in the Michigan Supreme Court. The charges against him were dismissed on October 30, 2020 as well. 

Mr. Ramsey was represented by SADO Assistant Defender Christine Pagac.