The mantle of Chief Justice passed from Justice Markman to Justice McCormack this month, just in time for a docket full of criminal appeals. Chief Justice McCormack performed the role naturally during the January session held over the last two days. The oral aguments spanned many issues of far-reaching significance, including:
- whether a trial judge may increase the defendants' sentence based on charged conduct for which the jury acquitted the defendant
- whether a conviction for both assault with intent to do great bodily harm and felonious assault, which is defined as an assault “without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder,” violates the constitutional prohibition against subjecting a defendant to double jeopardy; and
- whether the statutory bar against appellate review of a within-guidelines sentence should be severed along with other provisions in the sentencing guidelines that were already severed in People v. Lockridge to make the guidelines advisory.
The State Appellate Defenders Office presented the oral argument for the defendant in many of these cases. The next session in March promises another bevy of criminal cases, one of which will include the issue of whether the Sex Offender Registry Act violates the Ex Post Facto Clause when applied retroactively to defendants sentenced prior to its enactment or to its amendments. The amendments have greatly enhanced in-person reporting requirements and severely restricted where such offenders can live and work, among other things.
Warner represents the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan as amicus curiae in two of the cases mentioned above.