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A Better Partnership
December 21, 2012

COA Opinion: Convictions for both unlawfully driving away a vehicle and carjacking do not violate double jeopardy

In People v. Cain, the Michigan Court of appeals affirmed the defendant's conviction for carjacking, unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle, and firearms charges. Along with several other grounds for appeal, the court rejected the defendant's argument that conviction for both unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle and carjacking violated the double jeopardy clauses of the Unites States and Michigan Constitutions.

Prosecutors alleged that the defendant threatened the victim with a revolver; ordered him to get out of his car and take off his pants and boots, and then drove away in the victim's car with the victim's wallet, clothing, and cell phone. A jury convicted the defendant on all counts. On appeal, the defendant raised unpreserved objections to myriad aspects of the prosecution. The Court of Appeals rejected all of the defendant's arguments. Most significantly, the court concluded that convictions for both carjacking and unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle do not offend the double jeopardy clause, because each offense requires an element that the other offense does not. Specifically, carjacking requires the use or threat of force or violence; unlawfully driving away requires a completed larceny of a motor vehicle, while a carjacking conviction does not.

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