In June of 2012, Dwayne Ballinger Jr. was released from prison after a federal judge found that Ballinger’s lawyer was ineffective at trial when Ballinger stood charged with fatally gunning down two men in 2006. U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow found that even though Ballinger had been convicted of killing the two men for reasons related to drugs, his counsel had been ineffective in not calling Ballinger’s then girlfriend as an alibi witness. On June 21, Tarnow gave the state of Michigan 90 days to schedule a new trial. Nearly nine months later, Ballinger may find his freedom coming to an end.
Ballinger was initially sentenced to life in prison without parole for the killings. In his June federal court appearance, bizarre circumstances led to Ballinger’s arrest, followed by a quick release just 15 minutes after he was placed in handcuffs. Judge Tarnow released Ballinger on a tether, causing an uproar from the state which argued that Ballinger was a threat to relatives of the victims and witnesses.
A spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, Joy Yearout, said following Ballinger’s June release that an emergency appeal would be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals because Ballinger was a clear threat to the community, and should be behind bars.
On Monday March 4, Dwayne Ballinger Jr. was denied a new trial by a federal appeals court. While the defendant was convicted of killing two men with an AK-47 in 2006, it appears that although he has been accused of threatening victims’ relatives and searching the streets for his rivals (which he denies), he has stayed out of trouble for the nearly nine months he has remained free.
Michigan criminal appeals lawyers know that errors are made in the criminal justice system. Ineffective counsel can leave innocent individuals sitting behind bars, or even those who are guilty facing harsher than usual punishment.
Whether you feel that you have been wrongfully convicted, have grounds for a new trial or have been sentenced far too harshly in comparison to the crime you are accused of committing, consult with a capable and experienced Michigan criminal appeals attorney right away.