On March 6, 2009, the Michigan Supreme Court denied eight applications for leave to appeal and denied one motion for a waiver of fees in a prisoner's civil action against the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Court took substantive action in three criminal cases two of which involve the application of the United States Supreme Court's decision in Halbert v. Michigan. These cases are discussed after the jump.
In People v. Jones, No. 137298, the Court reversed in part the Court of Appeals' decision, holding that the Court of Appeals erred by holding that the defendant was entitled to a new trial based on ineffective assistance of counsel adopting the reasoning of Judge Wilder's partial concurrence. The Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to determine whether a new trial was warranted because of the trial court's ruling permitting a midtrial amendment of the information. As Judge Wilder concluded that the amendment was grounds for a new trial, and Judge Markey concurred that a new trial was warranted albeit without explanation, it would seem that a new trial is likely. The Court's order is here. The opinions of Judges White, Markey, and Wilder are here, here, and here. Chief Justice Kelly and Justice Cavanagh would have denied the application.
In People v. McCoy, No. 137238, the Court peremptorily reversed the Court of Appeals' decision and reinstated the Kent County Circuit Court's decision denying the defendant's untimely request for appointed appellate counsel for the reasons stated in Judge Hoekstra's dissent. The Court and Judge Hoekstra concluded that the denial of an untimely request for appointed appellate counsel does not violate the United States Supreme Court's decision in Halbert v. Michigan, 545 U.S. 605 (2005) (requiring appointment of appellate counsel for first-tier discretionary review (i.e. application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals) for indigent, plea-convicted defendant). Chief Justice Kelly and Justice Cavanagh dissented and would have granted leave. The Court's order is here. The Court of Appeals' order including Judge Hoekstra's dissent is here.
In People v. Hill, No. 137108, the Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals to determine whether to grant leave, deny leave, or order other relief under MCR 7.205. The trial court initially denied the defendant's application for appointed counsel contrary to Halbert, but corrected the error upon defendant's renewed request for appointed counsel. The Court of Appeals denied the defendant's application for leave to appeal because it was filed more than 12 months after the judgment of sentence. The Michigan Supreme Court concluded that the 12 months should have been restarted on the date defendant's counsel was appointed. Chief Justice Kelly and Justice Cavanagh would have granted leave. The Court's order is here.