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Blogs | November 8, 2015
2 minute read

MSC to hear mini-oral argument on whether People v Lockridge decision affects relief afforded for improper scoring of offense variables

In People v Douglas, No. 150789, the Michigan Supreme Court scheduled mini-oral argument to address the impact of the recent decision in People v Lockridge, which rendered the sentencing guidelines advisory and employed a remedy that does not mandate resentencing.  Specifically, the Court has ordered the parties to address (1) whether a defendant can be afforded relief for an unpreserved meritorious challenge to the scoring of offense variables through a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and (2) the scope of relief, if any, to which a defendant is entitled when the defendant raises a meritorious challenge to the scoring of an offense variable, whether preserved or unpreserved, and the error changes the applicable guidelines range, whether the defendant’s sentence falls within the corrected range or not.

Defendant was convicted by a jury of possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of firearm during the commission of a felony.  He was sentenced as a fourth habitual offender to 2 to 10 years in prison for the felony-firearm conviction.  Defendant appealed, claiming, among other things, that his attorney had rendered ineffective assistance of counsel and that the trial court erred in scoring OV 13, which addresses a continuing pattern of criminal behavior.

The Court of Appeals affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentence, holding that his attorney did not render ineffective assistance of counsel.  Specifically, the court opined that the decision to not mention a discrepancy in the officers’ testimony was within the attorney’s judgment regarding trial strategy.  In addition, the court concluded that the trial court improperly assessed 10 points for OV 13.  However, because Defendant failed to preserve this challenge and because his sentence fell within the correct minimum sentence range, Defendant was not entitled to resentencing.

In light of the decision in People v Lockridge, the Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument to determine whether to grant leave to appeal the Court of Appeals’ decision.