On Monday, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of a 23-year-old Saginaw man for his role in a shooting that occurred on Christmas day in 2010. Simmion Brown will continue to serve his 30-plus year sentence after the December 2011 verdict against Brown was upheld by appellate judges Christopher Murray, Jane Markey, and William Whitbeck.
According to news reports at Mlive.com, Brown shot 44-year-old Bobby J. Johnson Jr. on Christmas day in 2010 after he was offended because the intended victim would not give him a cigarette. Johnson survived after being shot in the arm and chest. Brown was convicted of assault with intent to murder. The incident occurred in Saginaw at Bridgton Place Townhomes.
In his appeal, Brown focused on his alibi defense, and the prosecution’s response to it; he also argued that the admission of three hearsay statements allowed by Circuit Judge Janet M. Boes was in err. During his trial, Brown’s cousin testified that when the shooting occurred, the defendant was at a family gathering. The prosecution then called Brown’s aunt to testify in response to the cousin’s allegations, and a police detective who rebutted the aunt’s testimony. Judges found that under the circumstances the prosecution could not impeach its own witness.
Regarding the hearsay statements, judges ruled that they were admitted properly under the “excited utterance” hearsay rule exemption. The statements included the victim himself telling his then-girlfriend that Brown shot him, telling his daughter while in the hospital that the defendant shot him, and a 911 recording in which Johnson is heard naming Brown as the shooter.
Brown was convicted on other charges as well, including three counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, possessing a firearm as a felon, and carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent. He was ordered pay restitution to Johnson in the amount of $20,748.75 and sentenced to 32 to 52 years in prison.
As all Michigan criminal appeals attorneys know, having a conviction overturned is a challenge that is never easy. It is critical that the lawyer an individual chooses to represent him or her is thoroughly knowledgeable and experienced in the appeals process in order to obtain positive results.
If you have been wrongly convicted or feel that errors were made during the criminal justice process, contact a seasoned Michigan criminal appeals lawyer right away.