Full Panel To Review Decision To Overturn Death Sentence In Michigan Murder Case, U.S. v. Gabrion

A case involving the conviction of a western Michigan man continues to make headlines and challenge conventional legal wisdom. In U.S. v. Gabrion, Marvin Gabrion was convicted of murder in 2002 concerning the drowning of a young mom, Rachel Timmerman. Even though the state of Michigan does not allow for capital punishment, a federal jury determined Gabrion should face the death penalty. The death penalty was only available in this instance because Timmerman’s body was discovered in the Manistee National Forest, therefore placing the case in a federal court and making capital punishment possible. Had Timmerman’s body been discovered a few hundred feet away on state property, the death penalty would not have been available. At trial, Gabrion’s representatives were barred from pointing out this injustice to jurors. Gabrion became the first person since 1937 to be sentenced to death in Michigan.

If you have been charged with a violent crime such as homicide or murder, it is imperative to speak to an aggressive Michigan criminal defense lawyer immediately. The potential impact on your future and your freedom as the result of a criminal conviction, especially involving serious violent crimes, is significant. The criminal defense law firm you choose can and will make a difference.

Recently, the a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the death sentence should be vacated because the trial judge erred when it kept Gabrion’s attorney from telling jurors that Gabrion would not face the death penalty if the body had been discovered on state land. This past Thursday, the federal appeals court rejected the panel’s decision. Now, the full appeals court will start over to determine whether the 2002 death sentence was proper.


In many situations, the need for an aggressive criminal defense attorney doesn’t stop at trial and sentencing. Because a conviction can significantly impact the remainder of your life, you may want to appeal a conviction or sentence in an effort to reduce the negative consequences. Although here the case is literally a matter of life or death – anytime an individual is wrongfully convicted, sentenced unfairly, or fails to receive adequate representation – it is important to discuss your case with a knowledgeable criminal appeals attorney who may be able to identify issues in your case that may give you a probability of overturning your conviction or providing another opportunity to achieve justice and secure your freedom.

For more information or if you have been arrested for a homicide/murder or other violent crime, contact the aggressive Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates for an immediate consultation.

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