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One Court of Justice Blog

Nov 2017
15
November 15, 2017

MSC to consider scope of rape-shield statute

The Michigan Supreme Court will consider whether, in a criminal sexual conduct case, evidence of a victim’s pregnancy, lack of prior sexual activity, and abortion is barred by the rape-shield statute as “[e]vidence of specific instances of the victim’s sexual conduct, opinion evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct, [or] reputation evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct...” MCL 750.520j(1). The parties in People v. Sharpe, Case Nos. 155747-8, also have been asked to address whether, if the evidence is covered by the rape-shield statute, it is nonetheless admissible under one of the statute’s exceptions.  Further, if the evidence is not barred by the rape-shield statute, the parties have been asked to address whether the evidence is admissible under MRE 402 and MRE 403.  The Court of Appeals previously held that the evidence is not necessarily barred by MRE 404(a) or Michigan’s rape-shield statute.  Our blog post discussing the Court of Appeal’s opinion can be found here.
 

Sep 2017
29
Jul 2017
27
July 27, 2017

MSC invalidates post hoc causation reasoning

Through an order in Lowery v. Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership, No 151600, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the determination of the Court of Appeals and ordered summary disposition be entered in favor of the defendant, who was alleged to be liable for plaintiff's bodily injury caused by an oil spill.  The Court concluded that the plaintiff's expert's causation opinion was, essentially, that the plaintiff did not have problems before the spill, and that his health issues developed after the spill.  The Court found that this was fallacious post hoc reasoning and did not support a dispute of material fact on the required element of causation. Justice Markman, joined by Justices Zahra and Wilder, wrote an extensive concurring opinion detailing his view of the expert causation testimony necessary to sustain a toxic tort claim.   

Jun 2017
12
June 12, 2017

MOAA: Was evidence of defendant’s prior firearms convictions permissible because it bore on wife’s credibility and was not a collateral issue?

The Michigan Supreme Court granted a mini-oral argument to hear whether a defendant’s rights were violated through the use of character evidence and evidence of prior crimes. In People v. Wilder, No. 154814, the court will hear: 1) whether defendant’s prior firearms-related convictions were offered solely as character evidence, 2) whether defendant’s prior convictions were relevant to his guilt or innocence and 3) whether any part of the trial deprived defendant of a just outcome. 
 

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