Michigan Court of Appeals Upholds Kent County Man’s Sexual Assault Conviction

On Friday, May 30, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that a Kent County man’s rights were not violated when a judge informed a jury who could not come to a decision on the man’s guilt or innocence of the costs to retry him, according to Mlive.com.

The defendant, 51-year-old Duane Craig, allegedly groped a 9-year-old girl’s private parts in January of 2012. He was tried in June of 2012, when the jury informed Kent County Circuit Judge Donald Johnston that they could not come to a decision; the jury was deadlocked. Johnston then urged members of the jury to continue deliberating and seek resolution in the case, going on to say “It will simply require the consumption of more time and expense to achieve that result.” Johnston explained to the jurors that he doubted that the next group of 12 individuals who would serve as jurors if this jury could not agree on the verdict would be any smarter of more gifted in coming to a conclusion after hearing the same facts and evidence.

After listening to the judge’s statements, the jury found Craig guilty of second-degree criminal sexual conduct the same day. Craig’s defense lawyers requested that the guilty verdict be overturned by the appeals court, claiming that mention of the time and expense of retrying their client by the judge would make members of the jury feel as though they had failed their civic duty and purpose.

Appeals Court judges upheld Craig’s conviction, finding that the judge did not violate the defendant’s right to a fair trial. Prior to 2007, discussing retrial to a jury was not permitted due to a ruling by the Appeals Court; in 2007, the Supreme Court overturned that decision, making it appropriate to discuss retrial with jurors.

Michigan criminal appeals attorneys know how tough it is to win an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. However, when defendants’ rights are clearly violated or errors made in the criminal justice process, it is the defendant’s right to challenge the outcome. There are in fact innocent people who remain in prison for crimes they did not commit. The criminal justice system is not perfect; defendants have Constitutional rights that must be protected, and police, prosecutors, jurors, even judges, may make mistakes.

If you or a loved one have been wrongly convicted of a crime, it is critical you obtain the legal support and guidance of a Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who is aggressive, capable, and skilled in the appeals process. The attorney you choose could be the difference between a successful appeal and one that does not end well.

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