Articles Posted in Criminal Defense Overview

Original Case Details

A woman has been arrested in St. Clair Shores and charged with assaulting a police officer, assault and battery and refusal to submit to fingerprinting after allegedly spitting on police officers after she was told to leave a Nino Salvaggio grocery store when she refused to wear a mask. The woman is accused of assaulting a store employee when the employee told her that she needed to wear a mask or leave the store. She is also said to have behaved erratically until she was taken into custody by St. Clair Shores Police. The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office acting lead Prosecutor Jean Cloud said that even during the heightened tensions of the current pandemic, the woman’s repeated inappropriate behavior could not be tolerated, and her actions clearly demonstrated a willful disregard for the safety of everyone around her. The woman is locally known in Macomb County as she unsuccessfully ran for Roseville mayor back in 2017, losing by a wide margin to current mayor Robert Taylor. 10896969-300x201

Current Pandemic

Original Case Details

Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Cadotte was recently arraigned in the 50th District Court in Pontiac on a single charge of careless discharge of a firearm causing injury. He was charged for allegedly inadvertent shooting that occurred where he shot a pregnant 16-year-old girl in the shoulder at a traffic stop. The teen was said to have been shot in the right collarbone, and after a few days in the hospital, is now at home recovering. iStock_000068527987_Large-2-300x200

There has been some contradiction in what has been said about what happened in this case as the initial news release about this incident this past March stated that Deputy Cadotte drew his handgun and fired a shot through the front windshield of the stopped vehicle, and hit the pregnant passenger in the shoulder. The current statement says that after Deputy Cadotte positioned his car during the traffic stop, he exited the vehicle and his gun somehow discharged and the bullet struck the teen. What has been consistent is the allegation that the driver of the stopped vehicle was 15 years old and that she attempted to flee to try to avoid trouble for not having a driver’s license or the permission to use the car that she was driving. The driver took off on foot while her passenger had been wounded from Deputy Cadotte’s bullet.

Original Case Details

In late January of this year, a 72-year old man was taken into custody after he allegedly made threats against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. The man allegedly left a threatening message on Benson’s voicemail and also made threats over the phone to someone in Benson’s office. Police arrested the man at his home and a search warrant also led to seizing weapons from the man’s home. He was taken to Oakland County Jail and later criminally charged. The man arrested and charged is no stranger to the political arena. It has also been learned that the man lost races in the Michigan House of Representatives in 2014, 2012, and 2010. The man ran as a Republican in his first attempt for the House and later ran as a Democrat for the last two attempts he made. michigan-state-seal

His Charge And Sentence

The Practice Of Hazing iStock_000001825952_Large-300x225

Hazing is a sort of ritualistic action that is meant to indoctrinate individuals to join into certain groups. This practice is typically meant to embarrass, demean, and devalue individuals as a sort of way to prove their loyalty to the group or team they are attempting to join. Hazing can consist of forced alcohol consumption, forced physical labor, along with various forms of humiliation. Hazing occurs on sports teams and clubs, along with college fraternities and sororities. Hazing is a ritual that is focused on power and control. While some hazing can be minor and generally innocent, other forms of hazing can easily go too far. Hazing can lead to criminal charges and penalties if certain factors are present.

Potential For Criminal Charges Due To Hazing

In Michigan, it was once a misdemeanor to swear in public. The law allowed the district court to punish a defendant with a 90-day jail sentence. While this law is not being applied any more, police are charging people with disorderly conduct for such actions. We are left to question if the police are going too far in these charges. iStock_000002709890_Large-2-300x200

The disorderly conduct statute in Michigan states the following:

750.167 Disorderly person; subsequent violations by a person convicted of refusing or neglecting to support family; breastfeeding or expressing breast milk exempt. The statute is vague and provides 11 options for law enforcement to flex their muscles. To discuss the broad view of the statute and how cursing can lead to a prosecution, we spoke to several of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan to provide commentary.

Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If so, you may be on this page looking for some sort of answer regarding when this conviction will “fall” off your record. There are a few common misconceptions when it comes to expungements in the state of Michigan. 10896969-300x201

• My conviction will “fall” off after five years:

This is the most common expungement misconception. No crimes just “fall” off your record. The simple rule here is that once five years has elapsed since the end of your sentence, then you may be eligible for an expungement. The end of your sentence is simply when the government supervision is over completely (i.e. completed jail sentence, or completed probation). For example: If you served 1 year of jail followed by 2 years of probation, your timeline eligibility starts when you finish your probation. Once you are eligible, it is up to you to file for an expungement. You can try doing this on your own or you can hire an experienced attorney for this.

In Michigan, the field of criminal law presents more considerable obstacles than many other states. The biggest issue that criminal defense lawyers face comes out of the Lockridge decision. In Lockridge, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that scoring guidelines for criminal defendants were advisory. While that initially appeared to be a win for the criminal defendant, the reality is that the decision allowed the judge to exceed guidelines without fear for an appeal. The outcome presented stricter sentencing for those that plea or have been convicted at a trial of a felony. With an already difficult task at hand, many are left to wonder how the press plays a role in the criminal justice system. To discuss this issue, we sat down with three of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan to gather their insight into this issue. iStock_000013714975_Double-2-300x217

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has put together what most consider the top criminal defense team in the state of Michigan. When asked about the interplay with the press, Grabel stated, “Having a good relationship with the press can be very helpful to your case. The press is the voice of the potential jury pool. If the journalist likes you, they will give your client a fair shake. If the press is against you, it makes the battle more difficult. Part of being a good criminal defense lawyer is understanding the pressures of the press and having respect for the job that the journalist has to do. We don’t ask for favors from the press, we ask for objectivity.”

William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo has developed a reputation for his aggression and is known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan. When asked about the press, Amadeo was quoted as saying, “I was a journalism major and worked as a journalist for years. The field of journalism is critical to every facet of life. I would never ask a journalist to bend the facts, and I want my client’s side of the story heard. There are two sides to every story, and I’ve always been taught that trying a case in the press is never the way to start a case. With that stated, I would never deny a writer the chance to report a story, and I will fight back in the press when my client is attacked. When dealing with the media, the criminal defense lawyer should learn to counterpunch as opposed to throwing the first jab.”

In the state of Michigan, one type of specialty court that is starting to gain traction is the “Mental Health Court” which allows people that have psychological issues to be given an alternative to incarceration. A specialty court is a unique concept but also comes with economic constraints as there will be a need for new staffing to run the program. To learn more about “Mental Health Court” programs, we spoke to several of the top criminal defense attorneys in the state of Michigan to discuss the topic. 68916_law_education_series_2-300x225

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates in Lansing, Michigan and he provided commentary when he said, “The concept of the Mental Health Court is one that provides a lot of relief to those in need. We learn that many times a criminal defendant has had their mental deficiencies overlooked. While the screening process is rigorous, this provides a beneficial option to those in need.”

William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan and a Senior Associate at Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan and has also practiced in the state of New Jersey. Amadeo provided commentary when he said, “After experiencing specialty courts in New Jersey and Michigan, I can safely say that Michigan is way ahead of the curve on this issue. In Washtenaw County, we are lucky enough to have Judge Karen Valvo, Pat Chase and Karen Finney who have been true pioneers in helping our community with the Mental Health Court in the 15th District court. Recently, I was appointed to the Shiawassee County Mental Health Court team, and I can tell you that the process is not an easy one. The jurisdiction needed to obtain a grant and then put a qualified staff together. What I will expect from our mental health court team is for the criminal defense attorney not only to advocate but substantiate why their client deserves this option. The concept is amazing, but the implementation will take a lot of hard work, and we need to be up to the challenge.”

Why would somebody ever confess to a crime that they didn’t commit? The average person would not believe that a “false confession” is something that ever occurs, but the reality is that criminal defendants’ admit to crimes they did not commit regularly. In Michigan, the argument on the voluntariness of a confession is explained in “The Walker Hearing.” iStock_000002709890_Large-2-300x200

The “Walker Hearing” is an evidentiary hearing to determine the voluntariness of the defendant’s statement. Common allegations are the defendant coerced, drunk, intimidated or mentally incapacitated. In the state of Michigan, 3 elements must be presented for a statement to be deemed appropriate. Those statements that the statements were made: Knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. To discuss the issues of false confessions and how the “Walker Hearing” is addressed in the Michigan criminal justice system, we have received commentary from several criminal defense attorneys that have addressed this issue on a routine basis.

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has created a team that is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan. When asked about the “Walker Hearing” and the issue of false confessions, Grabel stated, “There are several reasons that an innocent person makes a false statement. The obvious is police intimidation, but the discussion goes further than that alone. Sometimes a defendant is looking for fame, sometimes we are dealing with an issue of mental incapacity, and sometimes they are protecting a loved one. A false confession is not a black and white issue but instead a very vague proposition, but it is one that is often overlooked in our Circuit Courts but addressed with fairness at the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.”

When someone is charged with a crime, it can become a very frustrating and heartbreaking situation.  To be charged, this means that a police report was presented to the prosecutor, the prosecutor submitted a warrant request to the judge, and the judge authorized the warrant.  Once this happens, it is not the job of the investigating officer to pick up the defendant, read them their rights, fingerprint them and schedule an arraignment.  In this process, a lot of things can become compromised.  Some attorneys feel that if a defendant does not know about a warrant, they should try to avoid the situation.  Others in the legal profession feel that self-surrender is the most beneficial way to approach this subject.  Today, the issue of self-surrender in Washtenaw County is going to be addressed. iStock_000000341623_Large-2-300x200

Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates which is known as the top criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan and has a dominant presence in Washtenaw County.  When asked about self-surrender, Grabel provided commentary when he said, “Washtenaw County is a court system that truly appreciates the self-surrender situation.  While I’m always a proponent of the self-surrender, Washtenaw County is more appreciative than many other courts in our state.  There is no upside to having a defendant avoid the process; instead, the attorney should coordinate on the surrender and then advocate for their client.”

Joe Brugnoli is one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the Grand Rapids area and has practiced in Washtenaw County on capital cases.  When asked about the topic of self-surrender, Brugnoli stated, “When I’ve been brought in on Washtenaw cases they have been for the most serious of crimes.  Whenever a defense lawyer is faced with this challenge, the first step is to walk in with your client and set the tone for the next phase.  There is a solid group of Judges and Magistrates in Washtenaw County that will appreciate your efforts.  If the case is triable, it will help you navigate the system, if the case is one that ends in a plea, the cooperation will be one step closer to obtaining the best possible outcome for the defendant.”

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