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One Court of Justice Blog

January 03, 2018

MSC to consider how strictly prosecutors must adhere to habitual offender notice requirement

The Michigan Supreme Court recently granted oral argument in People v Straughter, Case No. 156198 to determine whether it should grant the application for leave to appeal or take other action.  In Straughter, the Court of Appeals considered whether the prosecutor had complied with the statutory requirement to give notice of an intent to seek an enhanced sentence based on the defendant’s status as a habitual offender.  MCL 769.13(2) requires that in order to do so, the prosecuting attorney must give the court and defendant written notice within 21 days, and “shall file a written proof of service [of that notice] with the clerk of the court.”  Finding that the trial court record did not contain a written proof of service, the Court of Appeals remanded the defendant for resentencing without the habitual offender enhancement.
The Supreme Court will hear argument on:
  1. Whether the statutory harmless error test applies to violations of MCL 769.13’s notice requirement;
  2. Whether a prosecutor can establish that the defendant received the proper statutory notice by any means other than a proof of service; and 
  3. Whether providing a habitual offender notice in district court satisfies the statutory requirement that the notice be served within 21 days after the defendant’s arraignment on the information.

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