Local Spotlight: Trial Court Successes: March and April, 2016

Shannon M. Smith and Lorin J. Zaner successfully argued a directed verdict of acquittal in an indecent exposure case in the 38th Judicial (Monroe County) Circuit Court.

Marcel S. Benavides secured a dismissal from the prosecutor of a possession of less than 25 grams of a controlled substance charge in the 6th Judicial (Oakland County) Circuit Court based upon an unreasonably long detention, i.e., 20 minutes, in a traffic stop.

Chad D. Catalino won not guilty jury verdicts on both felon in possession of a firearm and felony firearm charges in the 14th Judicial (Muskegon County) Circuit Court.

Joshua P. Rubin won a not guilty jury verdict for his client in a morphine possession case in the 31st Judicial (St. Clair County) Circuit Court.

Wendy H. Barnwell and Kathy H. Murphy won not guilty verdicts after a weeks-long jury trial on charges of felony-murder and first-degree child abuse in the 3rd Judicial (Wayne County) Circuit Court.

Jennifer J. France won a favorable verdict for her client in the 50th Judicial (Chippewa County) Circuit Court on charges of resisting and obstructing and third-degree retail fraud; the client was acquitted of the resisting and obstructing, and convicted of the retail fraud.

Mitchell T. Foster secured a favorable plea-agreement for his client in the 46th Judicial District Court (Southfield) with a reduction of a resisting and obstructing charge to an attempt, and for 7411 consideration on a marijuana possession count.  The client will be allowed to use medical marijuana during the course of the probation.  Mr. Foster won a not guilty verdict from a jury in an OWI 3rd case in the 6th Judicial (Oakland County) Circuit Court.  Mr. Foster also obtained a reduction – from 51 months to 36 months in a meth lab case following a Lockridge resentencing in the 31st Judicial (St. Clair County) Circuit Court.

Adil Haradhvala had multiple recent successes.  He won a not guilty verdict in an armed robbery case in the 16th Judicial (Macomb County) Circuit Court, and charges of assault with intent to murder and malicious destruction of property were dismissed in another case, also in the Macomb Circuit Court.  Mr. Haradhvala also obtained dismissal of manufacture and conspiracy charges in the Macomb Circuit Court upon successfully establishing a MMMA Section 8 defense.  Mr. Haradhvala also obtained an additional 60 days of sentence credit for a client in the 3rd Judicial (Wayne County) Circuit Court.

Michael J. Nichols won suppression of evidence in an OWI 2nd case in the 87-A Judicial District Court (Gaylord).

Joshua P. Rubin won not guilty verdicts in a jury trial in the 31st Judicial (St. Clair County) Circuit Court in a case involving one count of CSC1 and three counts of CSC2; the jury acquitted on the CSC1 and two CSC2 charges and deadlocked on the remaining CSC2 charge.

James T. Bowden won not guilty verdicts on strangulation and felonious assault charges in the 16th Judicial (Macomb County) Circuit Court; the jury convicted of aggravated domestic violence and a firearm charge.

Matthew L. Vicari won a not guilty verdict from a jury in the 61st Judicial District Court (Grand Rapids) in an assault and battery case.

John W. Ujlaky obtained an additional 62 days credit for his client in an uttering and publishing case in the 17th Judicial (Kent County) Circuit Court.

SADO had some trial court successes: Assistant Defender Jessica L. Zimbelman, following a Lockridge remand to the 43rd Judicial (Cass County) Circuit Court in a second-degree home invasion case, secured a one year minimum sentence reduction for her client. Assistant Defender Brett DeGroff and Social Worker Katherine L. Root obtained a minimum sentence of nine years, down from an original minimum sentence of thirteen years based on a PRV5 scoring error in an armed robbery case in the 3rd Judicial (Wayne County) Circuit Court. Assistant Defender Jeanice Dagher-Margosian won plea withdrawal for her client based on competency challenges raised in a successful motion for relief from judgment (“6.500 motion”) in the 10th Judicial (Saginaw County) Circuit Court.

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor