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A Better Partnership

December 2016

Dec 2016
December 08, 2016

COA: Deliberately withholding information from police during criminal investigation may result in felony charge

It is one thing to plead the Fifth Amendment and make no statement to police at all, it is quite another to deliberately mislead police by making a statement that omits material information.  In People v Williams, No. 330853, the Court of Appeals held that a person who withholds material information in the course of making a statement to police during a criminal investigation runs the risk of being charged with a felony under MCL 750.479c. This provision makes it a felony to “[k]nowingly and willfully make any statement to [a] peace office [sic] that the person knows is false or misleading regarding a material fact in [a] criminal investigation.”  In this case, Jamari Williams said he and two friends were riding in a car the night of his pregnant girlfriend’s murder and divulged the stops they had made, but the police later found evidence that the car had parked briefly at her apartment—a stop Williams had not disclosed—and Williams later admitted that a fourth person was in the car.  This was sufficient to bind over the defendant for trial on the charge of misleading an officer.

Dec 2016
December 04, 2016

Court of Appeals clarifies that not all false accusations of criminal behavior will constitute defamation per se

Despite a series of inconsistent opinions throughout the years, in Lakin v Rund, No. 323695, the Court of Appeals adhered to Taylor v Kneeland, 1 Doug 67, 72 (1843), in clarifying what types of crimes were actionable in a defamation per se action.  The Court concluded that a false accusation of simple battery would only constitute defamation per se if the crime of battery subjects a plaintiff to an “infamous punishment,” which the Court concluded it did not.

Dec 2016
December 04, 2016

Crime victims generally have no right to intervene in claims brought by the State Treasurer under the State Correctional Facility Reimbursement Act, says the Court of Appeals

In State Treasurer v. Bences, No. 327657, the Court of Appeals held that a crime victim’s restitution order does not create a perfected interest in a claim under the State Correctional Facility Reimbursement Act (“SCFRA”).  Because the restitution order does not take priority over the Treasury’s SCFRA claim, the victim cannot intervene in the suit.

Dec 2016
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