Michigan Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case of Man Who Killed Bicyclists

Original Case Details

54-year-old Charles Pickett was convicted back in 2018 of 14 criminal charges in the death of five bicyclists in Kalamazoo County. Pickett’s convictions included five counts of murder in the second degree, five counts of operating while intoxicated causing death, as well as four counts of operating while intoxicated causing serious injury. Investigators say that Pickett took various drugs and proceeded to drive his pickup truck into a group of cyclists. Pickett killed five bicyclists and injured four others from a bicycling group known as the “Chain Gang.” Toxicology results showed Pickett to have been under the influence of methamphetamine, muscle relaxers, and pain medication at the time of the accident. In June of 2018, Pickett was sentenced to 40 to 75 years in prison by Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Paul J. Bridenstine. Pickett won’t be eligible for parole until he’s 90 years old.

The Appeal

Appellate attorneys for Pickett appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals on his behalf, stating that his confession was taken improperly and should have never been entered into evidence at trial. Attorneys for Pickett also argued that he was improperly sentenced outside the Michigan sentencing guidelines and should have received a lesser sentence. The Court of Appeals agreed that the statements should not have been admitted at trial because Pickett asserted his right to an attorney when he was first being questioned. The Court, however, determined that the jury would have convicted Pickett anyways based on the other evidence at trial. Also, due to the horrific nature of the incident, the Court of Appeals found that his sentence was appropriate. Pickett appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court but was denied a hearing. The Court stated that they did not wish to consider the case, “because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.” Pickett is still housed at the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, MI.

How Does a Case Make it to the Supreme Court?

The Michigan Supreme Court as well as the United States Supreme Court decide which cases to hear on a case-by-case basis. The cases that these courts choose are generally cases that have wide-ranging implications. Most appeals to the court are by “leave only.” This means that the court is not obligated to hear and decide most cases. The Court will grant leave only if the Court is persuaded that the case has legal issues that are significant to the state at large. The Michigan Supreme Court is not a court were trials happen. The Court of Appeals along with the Supreme Court are courts that review records of trial courts to determine if there were any legal mistakes that need to be corrected in order to satisfy laws and legal procedure. The United States Supreme Court accepts cases by issuing what is called a “writ of certiorari.” The Supreme Court will issue a writ of certiorari to hear a specific case if at least four of the nine justices vote to grant a writ. The Supreme Courts are known as courts of last resort. The most important part of any of these cases is the original record of your case. If the appropriate issues aren’t raised at trial and in proceedings by your attorney, then you likely lose the opportunity to appeal those issues altogether. If you have questions about this process, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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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