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A Better Partnership

October 2015

Oct 2015
October 01, 2015

COA: Application of mandatory sentencing guidelines after Lockridge requires remand to determine whether error is harmless

In People v. Terrell, No. 321573, the Michigan Court of Appeals held when a trial court erroneously employs mandatory sentencing guidelines, the appellate court must follow the same procedure for resentencing as the Court of Appeals recently established in People v. Stokes. As a result, even if judicial fact-finding does not increase the minimum sentence guidelines, which was the previous requirement for applying the Stokes-remand remedy, the Court of Appeals is now required to remand the case to determine whether the error was harmless when a trial court erroneously applied compulsory sentencing guidelines.

Oct 2015
October 01, 2015

COA: Where Old Chief stipulation is insufficient to prove element of offense, prosecution may introduce evidence of defendant’s prior driving history.

In People v. Bergman, No. 320975, the Court of Appeals held that defendant was not entitled to an Old Chief stipulation that her license was suspended at the time of the fatal car accident.  The stipulation that defendant merely had a suspended license was not a sufficient substitute for the malice element of second-degree murder, for which the prosecution sought to introduce evidence of defendant’s prior driving history. The Court further held that the advisory Michigan sentencing guidelines do not violate the Sixth Amendment, as long as the minimum number of points for that offense variable level could be sustained based on facts found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

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