Michigan Supreme Court Cases Update
The Michigan Supreme Court released many opinions in the last few summer months. Here is a recap of a few of them.
People v. Smith
The Court ruled that a plea bargain which prohibits a defendant from running for public office is against public policy and will not be upheld.
Smith, a Michigan State Senator, was charged with felonious assault, domestic violence, felony-firearm, and the malicious destruction of property (MDOP). Smith worked out a plea bargain with the prosecutor’s office for a guilty plea to MDOP only, on the condition he would resign from public office, and also not seek public office while on probation.
The trial court struck the resignation and bar-to-public office provision from the plea bargain, though enforced the rest. Smith resigned from office. The prosecution appealed the trial court’s actions. The Supreme Court did not like the bar-to-public office provision, ruling such provisions interfere with the will of the voters and gives the prosecutor’s office too much power.
People v. Washington
In People v. Washington, the Supreme Court ruled that a high-court misdemeanor is a misdemeanor in name only – the reality is that a high-court misdemeanor is a felony. What is a high-court misdemeanor? It is a crime punishable by up to two years in prison. All other types of misdemeanors are punishable by only jail time, and not prison time.
The issue in this case was whether a high-court misdemeanor could serve as a predicate offense for a felony-firearm conviction. A felony-firearm offense is where a person has a gun during the commission of a felony. The defendant in this case had a gun during the commission of a high-court misdemeanor. The Supreme Court said the high-court misdemeanor was essentially a felony, despite the name. Therefore, the defendant could be convicted of felony-firearm with a high-court misdemeanor as a predicate offense.
People v. Arnold
In this case, the defendant was convicted of aggravated indecent exposure as a sexually delinquent person. The law allows the court to sentence such a person to either one day to life in prison. The defendant was sentenced to a minimum of many decades in prison. The defendant argued that the law required the trial court to sentence him to a minimum of one day (obviously much better than decades in prison). The Supreme Court ruled a trial court may sentence a sexually delinquent person to either one day to life in prison or can sentence the defendant according to the sentencing guidelines.
Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a criminal defense attorney in Washtenaw County, Michigan. You can reach Sam at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at [email protected] ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
For the original news story, please visit https://www.prdistribution.com/news/michigan-supreme-court-cases-update/3546217.