Criminal Justice Opinions

The following is a small selection of opinions pertaining to the criminal law that I have authored. These, and all of my other opinions and orders, can be found at the Supreme Court website.

  • People v Lowe, 484 Mich 718 (2009) – The authority of a trial court to imprison an habitual offender for a term not more than “twice” the term otherwise authorized allows both the minimum and maximum sentences to be doubled in order to fashion an enhanced sentence.
  • People v Ream, 481 Mich 223 (2008) – Convicting and sentencing a defendant for both first-degree felony murder and the underlying felony does not violate the Constitution’s prohibition against multiple punishments for the same offense if each offense contains a legal element that the other does not.
  • People v Drohan, 475 Mich 140 (2006) – Michigan’s sentencing scheme, which allows a trial court to set a defendant’s minimum sentence on the basis of factors determined by a preponderance of the evidence, does not violate the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
  • People v Gillis, 474 Mich 105 (2006) – A felon is engaged in the perpetration of the crime while he is endeavoring to escape, and a murder committed immediately after a felony, apparently for the purpose of preventing detection, suffices to establish felony murder.
  • People v Holtschlag, 471 Mich. 1 (2004) – Every unintentional killing of a human being is involuntary manslaughter if it is neither murder nor voluntary manslaughter nor within the scope of some recognized justification or excuse.
  • People v Babcock, 469 Mich 247 (2003) – A trial court is required under the law to choose a sentence within the statutory sentencing guidelines range, unless there is a “substantial and compelling” reason for departing above or below that range.
  • People v Richardson, 490 Mich 115 (2011) (dissenting) – When a person is attacked in his or her dwelling, which undisputedly includes the porch of the dwelling, the ability of that person to retreat from such an attacker is not a factor to be considered in determining whether a defendant’s use of defensive force was necessary.
  • People v Piscopo, 480 Mich 966 (2007) (dissenting) – The defendant, a pastor, was entitled to a new trial where the trial court excluded evidence that the complainant had made prior false allegations of sexual abuse against another pastor and that the complainant also claimed to have been raped by a “demon.”
  • People v Randolph, 466 Mich 532 (2002) (dissenting) – A person is guilty of the crime of robbery, and not merely the crime of theft, if, before reaching a place of safety, the person uses force either to accomplish his initial taking of the property, or to retain possession of the property, or to escape with the property.

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