On February 6, 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court took substantive action in four criminal cases. In People v. Grays, No. 137244, the Court vacated the defendant's conviction of second-degree murder. In the other three cases, the Court ordered oral argument on whether to grant the application for leave to appeal or take other substantive action. This is also known as granting "miniature oral argument" or MOA because the parties are given 30 minutes for oral argument instead of the 60 minutes provided in calendar cases. The Court also denied leave to appeal in three cases.
All three cases involve sentencing issues:
People v. Kircher, No. 137652: The Court ordered a MOA to address whether a criminal violation of Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act ("NREPA") requires the imposition of a determinate five-year sentence where the defendant poses or posed a substantial endangerment to the public health, safety, or welfare, or whether the inclusion of that NREPA in the list of felonies to which the guidelines for minimum sentences apply requires the imposition of an indeterminate sentence. The Court invited amicus briefs from the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan. Oral argument will be scheduled in April 2009.
People v. Holder, No. 137486: The Court ordered a MOA on whether the judgment of sentence was valid when imposed and whether the trial court lacked authority to modify the judgment of sentence. The Michigan Attorney General was further ordered to explain under what authority the Michigan Department of Corrections may proceed ex parte to amend an otherwise final order. Oral argument will be scheduled for April 2009.
People v. Lowe, No. 137284: The Court ordered a MOA regarding whether a minimum recommended sentence may be doubled as a sentence enhancement. The Court invited amicus briefs from the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan. Oral argument will be scheduled in April 2009.