Original Case Details
A man from Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula was recently tried in a bench trial that was streamed live online. He was charged with one count of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder, and one count of a third offense of domestic violence. During the trial, the alleged victim testified that the Marquette man seriously injured her, breaking bones in both her left and right feet. 25th Circuit Court Judge Jennifer A. Mazzuchi presided over the unintentionally historic case and found the man guilty on both charged counts. An assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder carries a maximum punishment of up to ten years in prison, while the third offense domestic violence charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence. Because the man has at least three prior felony convictions, he is also deemed a habitual offender which multiplies the maximum sentence on his felony charges. In this case, both charges now have life maximums due to the habitual offender status. Prosecutors who have the option to add a habitual offender multiplier typically do and use that in their plea negotiations to try to force a plea out of the defendant in order to dismiss the habitual offender addition. The man will remain in custody until he is sentenced at a later date.
Current Court Order Regarding Operations
If this case was set for a jury trial, everyone involved would still be waiting to have the trial since the Michigan Supreme Court has administratively adjourned all jury trials until at least June 22, 2020. This covers all trials, regardless if they are civil or criminal cases. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack had previously issued a memo on March 11, 2020 to all state trial courts recommending adjournments due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Courts around the state of Michigan have looked to remote options to conduct day to day business. Zoom conferencing has become a popular choice for many courts, with attorneys appearing live on the record while being in the comfort of their own homes. The State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) has launched a pilot program to see what procedures and possibilities there are in conducting remote jury trials. For now, we have the first bench trial to stream live in the present case.
First Trial To Stream Live
A right anyone has if they sit as a defendant in a criminal trial is the right to a public trial. Since the current COVID-19 pandemic has changed basically everything we do, the court in this case looked for the creative option to live stream the trial on the internet. The Marquette County Circuit Court became the first Michigan court to broadcast a trial live over the internet. Since the number of people allowed to be in a courtroom has been greatly reduced due to COVID-19, this method allowed this case to be handled in this way to protect the defendant’s right to a public trial. Different types of technology will expectedly continue to be incorporated into court systems and procedures as we move forward.
Any Further Questions?
If you are expected to be in court, it is your responsibility to find out if your court date is still valid or if it was changed. 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.