Earlier this week, a Court of Appeals panel declined to review the case of a man who was sentenced to life for the 2011 murder of his girlfriend. Melvin “Roc” Smith, 30, was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury in October 2012.
Smith was also convicted of other crimes at the time including first-degree assault, possession of a firearm after being convicted of a disqualifying crime, stalking, use of a handgun during a crime of violence, and more. In addition to his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, the judge sentenced Smith to an additional 40 years on the other charges.
In June, Smith appealed his sentence to the Court of Special Appeals, who denied to hear the case. He then appealed his sentence to the Court of appeals, who declined to review the case on Monday, September 22.
According to a news article at The Frederick News-post, Smith shot Tranice Richardson, his former girlfriend, after she told him she was breaking off the relationship. She was shot multiple times as neighbors and her son watched. Prosecutors claim that in the days leading up to her death, Smith called her more than 1,400 times leaving threatening messages.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said that they were extremely pleased with the Appeals Court’s decision to decline review of Smith’s case.
News reports do not indicate what grounds Smith was trying to appeal his sentence on. Most individuals who appeal a sentence or conviction have a compelling basis to do so, such as his/her rights were violated, an error was made in the criminal justice system, testimony was allowed that should not have been, the jury was improperly instructed, ineffective assistance of counsel, etc.
It appears that Melvin Smith will spend the remainder of his life behind bars. Appealing a sentence of conviction is extremely difficult, particularly in cases of murder or other violent crimes. However, it is not always impossible to have a sentence overturned, depending on the circumstances of your case. Regardless, the most important factor in appealing a sentence or conviction is the quality of attorney you choose to represent you. It is vital to choose a Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is highly experienced and knowledgeable in the appeals process, and although no lawyer can guarantee success, the odds for success are higher with a skilled attorney on your side.
If you are considering an appeal, consult with a capable and aggressive lawyer who will thoroughly review your case to determine if there may be solid grounds for appealing.