Wayne County Felony Conviction

Successful Appeal in Wayne County for Felony Conviction

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A Wayne County Circuit Court judge committed a reversible error when he suppressed the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the victim in a reckless driving causing death case in 2017. The Wayne County Prosecutor successfully fought to keep this critical evidence from being introduced by the defendant at trial and as a result, the defendant was convicted. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the defendant’s conviction and found the evidence, which was critical to the defendant’s defense, should have been admitted.

Wayne County Felony Conviction

Basically, the facts of the case were that Defendant slammed into the rear end of decedent’s vehicle causing his death. Defendant testified that the decedent pulled suddenly into his lane causing him to lose control. The defense sought to introduce the decedent’s BAC of 0.201 to show contributory negligence. In other words, the criminal defense lawyer argued that the defendant’s testimony that the decedent was driving erratically was corroborated by his superdrunk level BAC. The trial judge granted the prosecutor’s request to keep that critical information from the jury and the defendant was found guilty.

Establish reasonable doubt and thus an acquittal at trial

The appellate court found that the trial judge’s ruling on the BAC evidence was an abuse of discretion. The panel held that defendant’s testimony, when coupled with evidence of the decedent’s extreme intoxication, was sufficient to create a question of fact regarding the decedent’s gross negligence such that the decedent’s conduct may have superseded defendant’s reckless driving and severed defendant’s criminal liability. This is a complicated way of saying that the evidence of the high BAC combined with the defendant’s testimony about the decedent’s sudden lane change in front of his car may have been enough to establish reasonable doubt and thus an acquittal at trial.

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On appeal, it is not enough for a defendant just to show that there was a significant legal error in the trial. For a conviction to be reversed, the defendant must also show that the outcome of the trial might have been different had the error not been made. If the defendant fails to show the error may have impacted the verdict, the error is called harmless and the conviction gets affirmed. In this case, because failure of proximate causation was defendant’s only defense to the charge of reckless driving causing death, the appellate court found that it was more likely than outcome determinative and that the defendant was entitled to a new trial.

Court of Appeals affirmed the trial judge’s ruling

As an aside, the prosecution appealed the trial judge’s suppression of defendant’s old OWI and OUIL convictions, which the prosecution wanted to present to the jury. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial judge’s ruling on this issue and found that the old convictions were irrelevant to the question of whether defendant’s reckless driving was a proximate cause of the decedent’s death. This propensity evidence was properly suppressed under M.R.E. 404(b) and 403.

People v. Thabo Jones; unpublished opinion of 10-31-17 (COA# 330759)

If you are charged with or being investigated for a criminal offense in Wayne County Michigan, call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. today for a free consultation at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and a highly experienced trial lawyer will promptly contact you. Our defense team has an unparalleled track record for success and we are not afraid to win!

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New Domestic Violence Court In Wayne County Likely to Cause Harassment of Innocent Men and Women

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The Third Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan has received a federal grant to start a new domestic violence prevention court. The mission of the new Solution Oriented Domestic Violence Prevention Court (SODVPC) is to fill perceived gaps in the personal protection order (PPO) system by using a solution oriented approach in family law cases.

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A report by the Michigan State Police indicates that 44% of domestic violence allegations originate in the tri-county area (Oakland County, Wayne County, and Macomb County). According to program organizers the new Domestic Violence (DV) court will provide and promote safety and enhance prevention. The DV Court will work with community domestic violence organizations to help facilitate these goals.

New Court likely to cause Harassment to innocents

As a Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney, it is a major system flaw that the DV Court has no procedure to examine the veracity of domestic violence allegations. Although the Michigan State Police may claim that domestic violence is at epidemic proportions in Michigan, defense lawyers are well aware that false domestic violence and domestic abuse allegations are wide spread and on the rise. Unfortunately these allegations are regularly used, because of their effectiveness, to gain financial, custody and power advantages over unsuspecting and undeserving spouses and domestic partners. Unfortunately, in domestic violence cases, there is often a preemption of guilt rather than a presumption of innocence. It sounds as if the new DV Court is going to be treating all allegations, regardless of truth and veracity, as proven allegations. This will undoubtedly result in the dehumanization and demeaning treatment of innocent victims of false allegations.

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At Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. we concentrate our domestic violence defense practice on three things: (1) defending those falsely accused, (2) defending those over charged (people charged with offenses that are a higher degree than appropriate or those whom the prosecution or court are seeking to unfairly punish), and (3) helping mitigate and reduce the sentences of those who desire to take responsibility for an unfortunate incident and don’t want their lives ruined as a result of a mistake.

We offer a free consultation for those charged or accused of a domestic violence offense, an assaultive crime, or any Michigan criminal offense. Please call us directly at (248) 263-6800 or you can fill out a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you. We will find a way to help you and, most importantly, we are NOT afraid to win.

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