What is a Killebrew Agreement?

A Killebrew agreement is plea bargain in which the prosecutor promises the defendant will receive a particular sentence. Plea bargains area  common part of criminal law. A plea bargain is where a person admits guilt in exchange for a benefit in return. Common plea bargains may involve a guilty plea in exchange for a dismissal of a charge, or a reduction of the charges. Plea bargaining speeds up the disposition of cases, especially where there are no disputed factual […]

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The Court of Appeals Discusses Noncitizen’s Eligibility for Parole from Prison

In Chico-Polo v. Department of Corrections, Chico-Polo was convicted of delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance greater than 650 grams and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He filed for relief in trial court to compel the defendant, the Department of Corrections, to parole and release him to the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). MCL 791.234b provides that the parole board shall place a prisoner (who meets certain criteria) on parole and release that prisoner to […]

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Evans v. Michigan: Midtrial Acquittal Based On Error Is Still An Acquittal For Double Jeopardy Purposes

The U.S. Supreme Court case of Evans v. Michigan concerns the Fifth Amendment Double Jeopardy Clause prohibition of retrying a defendant twice for the same crime. Evans was on trial for an arson charge in Michigan. After the State of Michigan rested its case, the court entered a directed verdict of acquittal for Evans, under the belief that the State had not met its burden as to a particular element of the arson offense. However, the unproven element […]

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Florida v. Harris: Drug-Sniffing Dogs And Probable Cause

For a police officer to make a warrantless search of a vehicle the officer must have “probable cause” that evidence of a crime will be found, as required by the Fourth Amendment. In Florida v. Harris the Court discussed when the source of the probable cause is a drug-sniffing dog, and affirmed the rule that such probable cause would be analyzed with the same general totality-of-the-circumstances test that is used to evaluate all probable cause. “The question – […]

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Texting and Driving

Several years ago the Michigan legislature deemed texting and driving to be a serious enough problem that a law was passed to prevent drivers from texting. Texting and driving is now a civil infraction. A first offense will cost you $100, additional offenses will be $200.  The driver does not receive points on his or her driving record. A driver can be cited for reading, typing out, or sending a text message on a cell phone.  Typing in […]

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The Supreme Court in Chaidez v. United States Decides That Padilla Applies Prospectively Only

In 2010, the Supreme Court in Padilla v. Kentucky held that the Sixth Amendment requires an attorney for a non-citizen criminal defendant to advise on the possibility of deportation that could result from a guilty plea. Failure to advise on these consequences could be the ineffective assistance of counsel. The question before the Court in Chaidez v. United States was whether the rule in Padilla applies retroactively, so as to provide relief to defendants who may have had ineffective assistance […]

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Michigan to Issue Driver’s Licenses to Qualifying Noncitizens

The Michigan Secretary of State will begin to issue driver’s licenses to noncitizen residents of the state who qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program announced last year by President Barak Obama. “Michigan will only issue driver’s licenses to individuals who are here legally,” Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said. “The feds now say they consider these young people to be lawfully present while they participate in the DACA program, so we are required to […]

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The Michigan Court of Appeals Rules that Padilla Applies Prospectively Only

The Michigan Court of Appeals in People v. Gomez was asked whether the United States Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky would apply to cases that were already decided and ruled that Padilla’s effect would not be retroactive. In Padilla, the Supreme Court held that criminal defense counsel must advise a non-citizen defendant that a guilty plea may result in deportation. Failure to advise on the basic deportation consequences could be ineffective assistance counsel. Defendant Gomez was a […]

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The Michigan Supreme Court Decides the Fate of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Michigan Supreme Court Ruled that patient-to-patient transfers of medical marijuana sales are not protected under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in People v. McQueen. As McQueen made its way from the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court, the medical marijuana community braced itself for what it thought would be the end of commercial marijuana dispensaries. The Court of Appeals had ruled that the sale of medical marijuana was not permissible under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Prosecutors and police across […]

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What is Reckless Driving?

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense in Michigan and comes with serious consequences, both for the driver’s wallet and driver’s license. A conviction is punishable by up to a $500 fine, 93 days in jail, or both. In addition, a total of $1,000 will be assessed in driver’s responsibility fees by the Secretary of State. Six points are added to driver’s record. A first offense results in a mandatory 90 day license suspension. Two convictions within seven years […]

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