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March 27, 2015

MSC directs COA to decide whether state’s failure to execute probation violation warrant, when it knew defendant was serving prison sentence out-of-state, entitles defendant to relief

In People v. Cowan, No. 149595, the Michigan Supreme Court remanded to the Court of Appeals, directing it to consider whether the defendant is entitled to relief because the State of Michigan, whether deliberately or negligently, failed to execute a warrant for a probation violation while it knew that the defendant was serving a prison sentence in Indiana. The Court directed the Court of Appeals’ attention to People v. Ortman, 209 Mich. App. 251 (1995), in which it held the warrant should have been waived when the state waited almost two years to execute the warrant, and People v. Diamond, 59 Mich. App. 581 (1975), in which the Court of Appeals held that probation authorities must use due diligence in executing a probation revocation warrant once it has issued. The Court directed the Court of Appeals to compare the Michigan cases with Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78 (1976), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that a prisoner was not denied due process when authorities waited to execute a parole violation warrant until he was done serving prison time for another crime.   

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