Friedman Legal Solutions, PLLC

Criminal Appellate & Post-Conviction Services

Mich SCt Holds that New Trial Can be Granted on Similar Acts/Impeaching Evidence

It has always troubled me how strict some Michigan courts have taken such a narrow view of what new evidence is important enough to win a motion for new trial. Cases often turn on indirect evidence, e.g. things that hurt witness credibility, which suggest that the Defendant is capable of or had the motive to commit the crime, etc. When this evidence is later disproved, Courts engage in all sorts of justifications to say it didn’t matter. Their concerns are probably pragmatic, Courts are concerned that the more areas that are opened for review, the more motions they will face. They feel that limiting the types of evidence that are important enough to grant a trial will protect some societal interest in finality. In People v Grissom, Supreme Court No. 140147, the Michigan Supreme Court found that similar acts evidence which showed that the Complainant made other false allegations of sexual assaults was sufficiently important to warrant a new trial. The Court’s opinion go a long way to knocking down the trait of courts to toss the word “mere” in front of a type of evidence would deny its importance, (e.g. “mere impeaching,” “mere recanting testimony,” etc).