A few weeks ago, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that an error was not made by the judge in the trial of Henretta Little who was convicted on charges of kidnapping, torture, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. The charges were in connection with a man who lived with Little and her cousin, Laprincess Jones.
The alleged victim was mentally disabled, according to a news article at Mlive.com. Little, who is 31 years old, was convicted in December of 2012 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. News articles state that Little and her 26-year-old cousin lived with the man, who was in his 20s at the time and collecting disability checks from the state. The two women reportedly imprisoned the man inside the house and beat him with various objects, according to police. Jones struck a plea deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to assault and imprisonment in exchange for her testimony against Little.
The victim in the case testified that his feet and legs were injured on numerous occasions by Little, who struck him with a hammer. He also told the court that he was forced to sleep in a locked chest-like bench at the foot of Little’s bed.
Little was pregnant when the trial began on December 6, however it was postponed two days later when she thought she had gone into labor, however that proved not to be the case. The trial continued the next week, ultimately ending in Little’s conviction.
Little’s attorney appealed the convictions based on Jones’ plea agreement. Little argued that her attorney should have been allowed by Saginaw County Circuit Judge James T. Borchard to question her cousin (Jones) on the maximum penalties Jones faced on the original charges against her, and that the jurors should have been instructed on the same.
Judge Borchard said that because Little faced the same charges as Jones, it was not proper for the jury to be informed on the maximum penalties of the charges. Michigan court of appeals judges agreed, and upheld her conviction. The appellate judges wrote that the defendant’s lawyer had a reasonable opportunity to challenge Jones’ inconsistent statements as well as her credibility based on her plea deal.
Individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense should know that it doesn’t necessarily mean you have reached the end of your rope – there may be other options. However, not all Michigan criminal appeals lawyers will reach a positive outcome, so it is important that you choose an attorney who is aggressive, capable, and has years of experience with the appeals process.
If you have been unfairly sentenced or convicted of a crime and feel an injustice has been done, contact a talented Michigan criminal appeals attorney at once for further support and guidance.