Articles Posted in Assault

A Michigan Supreme Court Decision rendered on July 17, 2017 could potentially change the face of the rules of evidence both on the federal and state level. The Denson decision is a landmark case and the victory led by Scott Grabel and Associates was not just a success story for him but could also blaze a trail for criminal defense attorneys in the foreseeable future (Michigan Supreme Court, Docket No. 152916, “People v. Denson”). Grabel04a-2-300x146

The facts create a complex fact pattern as the defendant in the case was convicted of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder after a jury trial in the Genesee Circuit Court (MCL 750.84). One of the keys to the prosecution’s argument was the Michigan Rules of Evidence (MRE) 404 B (MRE 404 B [MIMIC]). MRE 404B, which is famously referred to as “MIMIC” is a tool that the prosecution has often used to bring in evidence that would normally be deemed unfairly prejudicial. In this case, the prosecution attempted to utilize 404 B to admit evidence of “other-acts” to incorporate a 2002 conviction of assault. After hearing arguments form the prosecution and the defense, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the case will be reversed and remanded for a new trial.

The Litigation

It isn’t uncommon for someone to be accused of assault, which in Michigan is defined as an attempt to inflict physical harm upon another individual whether actually using an object such as a baseball bat, lamp, or even a hand to strike that person, or intentionally threatening an unlawful act whether you brandish a weapon or do something as seemingly simple as raising a fist. Your first thought, regardless of whether you are innocent or guilty, is to claim you were acting in self-defense – and perhaps you were. But what is the difference between assault and defending yourself? knife-2-1142077-m-300x236

When you were attempting to protect yourself from harm in the event someone else either used force or violence against you, or used offensive words to threaten you that caused you to feel physical harm was imminent (or in other words, about to occur), it is self-defense.

How does assault differ? Essentially, assault means you had the intent to behave in a manner that intimidated or struck fear in another individual, or intentionally attempted to cause physical injury to that person through threatening behavior. Assault, in some cases, may involve offensive or harmful touching of another individual when the touching is non-consensual, or the person touched does not give permission; this may also be considered attempted battery.

On Thursday February 25, it was announced that Victor Peery, a Michigan man wanted for shooting his girlfriend in her Kalamazoo apartment on Sunday, had been captured in Muncie. On Wednesday, the Muncie Police Dept. SWAT team served a search warrant at a residence in Muncie, and arrested Peery along with two other men. Peery now faces preliminary charges of assault with intent to murder, domestic assault, felon in possession of a firearm, and felonious assault in the attack on the 20-year-old woman. iStock_000008551433_Large-2-300x200

According to news reports the shooting occurred just before 11:30 p.m. on Sunday. Kalamazoo Public Safety officials said the woman fled to a neighbor’s home after suffering wounds in a shoulder and arm.

In addition to the above charges, Peery and the two other men, 21-year-old Jamarr Hill and 24-year-old Tavion Da’Rae Wallace face preliminary charges in Indiana for possession of cocaine, possession of heroin, and receiving stolen property. Peery was captured at a home on Princeton Avenue, which is where police found several handguns along with 11.5 grams of cocaine and 19.5 grams of heroin.

On Thursday November 19, former Inkster police officer William Melendez was found guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm in the beating of a motorist during a traffic stop. The beating of 58-year-old Floyd Dent, who is black, was captured on video. Melendez was also charged with assault by strangulation, however he was cleared of that charge. He was also found guilty of misconduct in office. iStock_000014700004_XXXLarge (2)

The incident which led to the charged occurred in January, when Melendez pulled Dent over for disregarding a stop sign. A dash cam video captured the scene, which according to news reports shows Melendez punching Dent in the head 16 times. Following airing of the footage on a local news station, Melendez was terminated. Dent suffered several injuries including blood on his brain and broken ribs, and was awarded $1.4 million by the city of Inkster, a Detroit suburb.

Melendez’s attorney said during the trial that his client was justified in assaulting Dent, because the defendant resisted police and was aggressive at the time of the traffic stop. He also said that following his December 3rd sentencing hearing, Melendez plans to appeal his conviction.

In late June, 56-year-old Mitchell Moore of Ferndale was charged with assault with intent to cause great bodily harm less than murder when he allegedly beat a friend using a wooden table leg after the two became involved in an argument over an electric fan.  According to an article at The Oakland Press, the charge against Moore has now been reduced to felony assault.

On June 27, police were called to a residence on McDowell when it was suspected Moore had attacked a friend.  Moore rents an upstairs apartment in the home, and he and the homeowner had allegedly been drinking the day the attack occurred.  One of Moore’s friends, a 53-year-old Hazel park man, stopped by the residence to pick up an electric fan he had let Moore borrow.  The fan was the man’s mother’s, and she wanted it back.  According to police, when the Hazel Park many went upstairs to Moore’s apartment to retrieve his mother’s fan, an argument erupted.
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On Thursday June 25, a trial date was set for 21-year-old Arnell Devontae Lincoln, one of two men accused of opening fire at a vehicle while at a gas station in Ypsilanti.  In April, Lincoln and 25-year-old Antonio Frank Thomas allegedly shot at a man in a red Taurus who was pumping gas at a station located in the 500 block of South Huron Street.  The alleged target was not injured, however a minivan that was in the vicinity reportedly got caught up in the gunfire.

One of the two adults who were inside the minivan at the time was reportedly injured by a bullet fragment; there were also two children inside the vehicle.  According to a news article at, it is believed a disagreement between Lincoln and Thomas and the man in the red Taurus led to the shooting.  Thomas is considering a plea deal, while Lincoln is scheduled to go to trial on September 28 on charges of assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, felony firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and carrying a concealed weapon.

Antonio Thomas requested a three-week adjournment to discuss a possible plea deal.  He is facing identical charges to those of Lincoln, with one additional count of assault with intent to murder, and an additional count of assault with a dangerous weapon.

On Saturday February 14, 39-year-old Terrence Lavaron Thomas was standing with a group of individuals at a suburban bus stop when he allegedly asked some whether they were Muslims, according to a recent news article at Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said that two of the individuals answered that they were not Muslims, at which point the two were stabbed by Thomas. On Tuesday it was reported that the case was being investigated as a potential hate crime by federal authorities. minneapolis-bus-stop-sign-576081-m

Hawkins said that Thomas was not happy with the answer given by the two victims, who are both in their early 50s. He allegedly attacked one of the victims with a 3-inch folding knife he pulled out, then stabbed the other in the hand as he attempted to bring a halt to the attack. Neither of the victims sustained serious injuries.

The defendant, who is charged with one count of carrying a dangerous weapon, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of assault with intent to murder, fled the scene after stabbing the victims, however he was arrested by police within minutes, according to Hawkins, who also said Thomas was carrying two knives along with some marijuana.