Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Openly Defies Higher Court in Resentencing Hearing

Original Case Details

Former Jackson County resident Dawn Dixon-Bey was convicted of second-degree murder for the stabbing death of her then-boyfriend, Gregory Stack. Dixon-Bey was found guilty by a jury in front of Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John McBain. She stabbed her boyfriend in the heart twice but claimed self-defense when she testified at trial. The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office said that the act was premeditated because the boyfriend was laying on the couch when he was stabbed. Judge McBain viewed the crime as first degree murder, and his sentence of Dixon-Bey was intended to show that. McBain sentenced Dixon-Bey to 35-70 years, a sentenced which far exceeded the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. The defense appealed the sentence, winning a Michigan Court of Appeals decision 2-1 in favor of resentencing Dixon-Bey. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case, so it went back before Judge McBain for resentencing.

Judge Defies Court of Appeals Order for Resentencing

The Michigan Court of Appeals sent the case back to Judge McBain with an objective that he sentences Dixon-Bey to a prison sentence more in line with the 12-20 year minimum using the Michigan sentencing guidelines as they apply to this case. Instead of doing that, McBain resentenced Dixon-Bey to 30-70 years. Judge McBain stated, “I want to be clear; I absolutely intend to sentence her at the very top end at 20 years, except that I just don’t think 20 years in an adequate sentence for this brutal, premeditated murder. He further said, “I think my sentence is correct with the additional 10 years.” He stated that he believed the evidence showing that Dixon-Bey was actually guilty of first-degree murder and believes he can use that in his sentence. McBain’s position is that a couple more conservative justices on the Michigan Supreme Court would have probably never found his initial sentence to be a problem and would have likely never ordered him to resentence Dixon-Bey. This point is partially supported as the dissenting opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court is that McBain should be allowed to consider the facts and nature of the higher crime even when the defendant was acquitted of the higher crime. The current law, however, does not appear to be on McBain’s side.

What Happens Next?

Dixon-Bey now has a new appeal as her legal issue has not changed much, only her sentence slightly has. McBain cut five years off of his initial sentence, but his sentence still exceeds the top end of the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines by 10 years. McBain knows he will be appealed again and simply doesn’t care. During the resentencing hearing he stated, “I hope they appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.” She will now be allowed to appeal in the same fashion she did when she appealed her initial sentence in front of Judge McBain. Her case will go to a three-judge panel in the Michigan Court of Appeals to determine if Judge McBain has enough legal authority to administer a sentence that is 50% higher than the very top of the Michigan sentencing guidelines would allow. The Court of Appeals could affirm the new sentence, or even send it for resentencing in front of a different Jackson County Circuit Court Judge if they choose.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, 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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