In April of 2008, Miguel and David Vidana allegedly raped a 20-year-old woman at the York Creek Apartment Complex. Both men were convicted of rape in 2011 and sentenced in separate trials to 23 to 45 years in prison by Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Buth.
Now, both men have had their appeals claims denied by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Miguel and David Vidana each filed separate claims on the grounds that jurors had been unfairly excused from the brothers’ trials due to their race. They also challenged the admission of hearsay evidence, and claimed ineffective counsel.
The Vidana brothers allegedly raped the woman at the apartment after incapacitating a male who was at the apartment. News reports at Mlive.com also state that the brothers allegedly brandished a knife, and that Miguel raped the victim in a bedroom while his brother waited outside the door. David Vidana told the victim that she would not be harmed if she did what Miguel told her to do. Ironically, the Vidana brothers’ sister is said to be the one who rescued the woman from the apartment, taking her to call police. DNA samples were then taken from the woman, and used to prosecute the brothers.
The brothers were given separate trials, and would not testify against one another.
In their appeals, the Vidana brothers claimed that three African-American jurors were dismissed by Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Bramble because of their race. In the opinion released by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the panel said that Bramble provided explanations for excluding the jurors which were race-neutral. One of the excused jurors allegedly had a prior criminal conviction, one juror’s father was in prison on a conviction for conspiracy to commit murder, and another employed as a social worker. The appeals court found that the explanations for excluding the three jurors were race neutral, therefore they denied the challenges made by the Vidana brothers.
Miguel Vidana is in prison at the St. Louis (Michigan) Correctional Facility, while his brother is incarcerated in Manistee County.
As experienced Michigan criminal appeals lawyers know, errors are often made in the legal process. Police, prosecutors, and even judges may make mistakes that can affect the future of those accused of a crime.
If you feel you have been wrongly convicted or that errors were made in the criminal justice process, consult with a capable and skilled Michigan criminal appeals attorney at once.