In much anticipated ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court has struck down the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines on Sixth Amendment grounds. For the last decade, the Court has been steadfastly refusing to consider this issue. On July 29, 2015, the Court finally invalidated the mandatory nature of the guidelines. The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines will now be treated as advisory in the same way that the federal guidelines are treated as voluntary. People v Lockridge, Supreme Court No. 149073.
There was an interesting editorial by George Will in today's Washington Post about “sledge hammer” justice about how the prosecutor can use its charging discretion to force most defendant’s to plea guilty or face exceptionally long sentences. While some consideration should be permitted for pleas, when is the “trial tax” too excessive?
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick wrote a book while on parole. Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner ordered the proceeds impounded. Mayor Kilpatrick wanted to challenge the constitutionality of the statute permitting the seizing these proceeds. Unfortunately, Mayor Kilpatrick may have shot himself in the foot. The Court of Appeals stated that his structuring to avoid a restitution obligation together with his statements to the press may have barred the issue. Read the full story for more details. Read More...
One of the most frequent calls I get is from family members who think they are sounding reasonable and saying “all I want is a time cut.” I understand that one of the things the family is trying to say is that they not contesting guilt. The problem is that Michigan has limited options for sentencing reductions. I wish it was that easy. The full blog article is my long response.
This weekend’s NPR had a very interesting “Humankind” program featuring David Kazinski and Gary Wright. David Kazinski is the brother of the Unabomber Theodore Kazinski and ultimately turned his brother into the authorities. Gary Wright is the victim of the Unabomber. Gary almost died and was permanently injured by the Unabomber. David and Gary have come together and have a unique spin on the criminal justice system including on how the healing needs to take place. Too many crime victims believe that vengeance has to their overarching mantra. Prosecutors have a systemic interest in keeping victim injuries and hurt accessible It is in the State’s interest to be able to pull these people out at various hearings to insure that the offender remains incarcerated. This was fascinating piece.