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 321468:  By instructing the jury that consent was not a defense to any aspect of the charges, the trial court denied defendant his Fourteenth Amendment right to a jury’s determination of his guilt and his Fourteenth Amendment right to present a defense.

BB 321470:  The Parole Board acted within its discretion when it granted defendant parole. The circuit court impermissibly substituted its judgment for that of the Board.

BB 321478:  This Court was correct when it ordered an in camera review of the decedent’s medical records because defendant established a good-faith belief grounded in articulable fact that there is a reasonable probability that the records contain material information necessary to the defense.

BB 321479:  The elements of first-degree murder include the name of the person the defendant allegedly killed. The elements of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder must, therefore, also include the name of the person the defendant allegedly conspired to kill. In this case, only one person was identified by name in the jury instructions or the complaint. The evidence established that no one had the specific intent to kill the listed person, and therefore no one could have conspired to kill her. Defendant’s conviction must be vacated because there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, as charged and determined by the jury.

BB 321482:  The trial court violated defendant’s rights to due process and the effective assistance of counsel by refusing to remove counsel whose conduct was so egregious that it resulted in counsel’s suspension from the practice of law by the Attorney Disciplinary Board. Defendant is entitled to a new trial.

BB 321484:  The restitution ordered under MCL 780.766 and MCL 769.1a constitutes an ex post facto punishment as applied to defendant at his juvenile lifer resentencing hearing held 28 years after the crime and sentencing. It must be vacated.

BB 321492:  Defendant is entitled to plea withdrawal because (1) his plea was based upon an illusory benefit of dismissing an open murder charge when the evidence, at best, establishes second-degree murder; and (2) his attorneys were ineffective for failing to adequately advise him of the defenses of manslaughter and self-defense.

BB 321497:  The circuit court reversed because the Parole Board had not cited certain materials in rendering its decision. This was an invasion of the Board’s discretion.

BB 321498:  Defendant was denied a fair trial in violation of the Due Process Clauses of the United States and Michigan Constitutions when the trial court allowed an expert witness to impermissibly vouch for the credibility of the complainant by responding to the hypothetical question posed by the prosecutor.

BB 321503:  Defendant was denied a fair trial by a suggestive photo display that led to a suggestive in-court identification. Defendant was also denied effective assistance of counsel to the extent that counsel failed to object and move to suppress these suggestive identifications.

by John Zevalking
Associate Editor