Michigan Supreme Court To Hear Arguments About The Admissibility Of Evidence Against Teen Charged With Killing Mother

Original Case Details

A Farmington Hills, MI teenager stands charged with killing his mother back in 2017 while he was only 16 years old. He was bound over for trial back in December of 2017 on a charge of open murder. His 35-year-old mother was found dead on a lower patio of their home on August 21, 2017. The victim had been separated from the teen’s father when this incident occurred. Police and prosecutors believe that the teen actually staged the scene to make it look like she died from an accidental fall from the upper story window. An autopsy showed that the cause of death was not the fall, but from being suffocated beforehand. Investigators believe the evidence shows that she was smothered to death and pushed out of the window by the teen. Investigators also pointed to the fact that there was little blood underneath the woman’s body, which indicated that she was dead prior to the fall. A home surveillance DVR supposedly shows shadows that make it look like the woman was pushed out the window. The DVR was turned over to the police by the teen’s father, but defense attorneys argue that the evidence was not obtained properly and that the teen was not properly read his Miranda rights when police talked to him while investigating the woman’s death.

Evidence Issues In Case

At issue are two major pieces of evidence in this case: A home surveillance DVR, and statements that were made by the teen when questioned by the police about this incident. If the defense is successful, then major parts of the prosecution’s case will be removed from evidence. Two weeks before the teen’s trial was set to begin, Oakland County Circuit Judge Martha Anderson ruled that the evidence would stay and would not be suppressed, which led to an interlocutory appeal of that decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. An interlocutory appeal pauses the timeline on a criminal case to have a higher court review legal issues related to evidence or procedure. Once the evidence issues are finally determined by a higher court, then the case can proceed.

Court Of Appeals Decision

The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the Oakland County Circuit Court’s decision in keeping the evidence and not suppressing it from the case. The three-judge panel stated that the police were “knowingly and voluntarily invited” into the home by the teen’s father and that he “voluntarily consented” to give the police the surveillance DVR. The Court further stated that the teen freely spoke with police, and that he was not under arrest at the time. The police were said to have not forced the teen to speak about topics that he did not want to speak about. The teen’s defense team then appealed this decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, asking for the case to be heard and a new decision to be made. The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on the evidence in this case to determine what evidence will be allowed. The Court has directed the teen’s defense team to file a brief which addresses the issue of whether the teen was subject to a custodial interrogation without being read his Miranda rights. It is important to note that Supreme Court chooses which cases it hears, so the fact that the teen even got the opportunity to go in front of the Supreme Court to be heard should not be taken lightly.

Any Further Questions?

If you have a loved one who is incarcerated due to a constitutional violation, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. There may be legal relief if there are the correct legal issues are present. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. 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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