Appeals Court to Hear Case of Man Convicted of Shooting at Black Teenager Asking for Directions

Original Case Details

A Rochester Hills man was convicted in 2018 of assault to do great bodily harm less than murder and possessing a firearm in the commission of a felony. The white male was accused of shooting a gun at a black teenager who had come to his door asking directions after he got lost on his way to school. The victim was 14 years old and was luckily not hit by the bullet the man fired. The man testified at trial in his own defense, stating that he and his wife both mistakenly believed the victim to be an adult intruder. In actuality, the victim had missed his bus to school and got lost while trying to walk to school, leading to the victim going to the defendant’s front door to ask for directions. The defendant claimed he went outside holding his gun intending to fire a warning shot but slipped on a wet spot on his porch causing the gun to discharge. A home surveillance video showed who appeared to be the defendant aiming a gun in the direction of the victim and firing as he ran from the porch. When the man was sentenced in November of 2018, the victim’s mother told the judge that she believed that the shooting was racially motivated. The man had a previous conviction for firing a gun in a road rage incident. He was ultimately sentenced to 4 to 10 years in prison, a conviction and sentence which he is appealing.

Current Status of the Case

The defendant is appealing his conviction both asking for a new trial and also stating that the court improperly sentenced him to prison for this offense. His main assertion is that the judge improperly departed upward in the sentencing guidelines which resulted in him being sentenced to prison. He is specifically contesting the judge’s decision to consider his prior gun incident in deciding to go higher than the normal sentencing guidelines, something a judge has the authority to do. Prosecutors in the case said that the man got his break in Macomb County for his erratic behavior with a gun and did not get that same break in Oakland County for similar behavior and was sent to prison. The Michigan Court of Appeals will hear his case to determine if his conviction or sentencing was improper.

What’s Next?

The case will next go to the Michigan Court of Appeals which will assign a three-judge panel who will decide on the legal issues raised by the defendant. Each side will submit written briefs detailing the issues and legal theories and will also have the opportunity to present their arguments live in front of the judges on the panel. The judges on the panel will be able to fully question both sides on the issues raised, as well as other constitutional issues that court deems worthy. Once that decision is made, an appeal can then be made to the Michigan Supreme Court or possibly even the United State Supreme Court depending on the legal issue. An appeal to either of these courts is not by right. If your case makes it to your state Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court, it is because that Court has agreed to hear your case because it raises a legal issue that the court feels needs to be addressed.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been convicted of a crime and are looking to appeal your conviction, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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