Criminal Law and Procedure

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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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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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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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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People v. Argo: Remedy For Denial Of Defendant’s Right to Raise Section 8 Defense

In People v. Agro, defendant Agro, a qualifying patient under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was found with 17 marijuana plants in her basement. She was charged and convicted of manufacturing marijuana and sentenced to 90 days probation. Agro brought a pre-trial motion under Sections 4 and 8 under the MMMA to dismiss.  Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ruled that Agro could not meet the Section 4 requirements in order to gain immunity from prosecution. Section 4 […]

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Placement of a GPS Device On a Vehicle Is an Unconstitutional Search Under the Fourth Amendment

As police surveillance techniques become more sophisticated due to technological advances courts will be asked how this squares with the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches. In U.S. v. Jones the U.S. Supreme Court was asked whether the placement of a global positioning device on a person’s car is a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The Court ruled it was a search. In 2004, the government obtained a search warrant to place a global positioning […]

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Failure To Yield To An Emergency Vehicle

We’ve all seen a police vehicle with its light flashing on the side of the road. How should we proceed past that police car? The law explains what you should do – a violation of this law could be charged as a misdemeanor. And a violation that results in an injury or death will be a more serious charge. Emergency Vehicle on Side of Road When passing a stationary emergency vehicle on the side of the road with […]

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