Rolando Flores Jr., a 33-year-old Pontiac man, was sentenced to life in prison in February 2012 after being convicted of the 2010 murder of John Ledbetter. Flores has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal, accused of stabbing Ledbetter so violently that it deteriorated the victim’s health, ultimately resulting in his death. Flores filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, claiming that the evidence presented at trial “did not establish that the stab wounds the victim received during the home invasion proximately caused his death.” Flores’ appeal was denied.
Ledbetter’s death was ruled a homicide by Kanu Virani of the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office, who said that the stab wounds the victim suffered were the primary factor in his death.
According to a news article at The Oakland Press, Ledbetter had cirrhosis of the liver and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and according to the defense used alcohol and hydrocodone for pain relief. The defense did argue that these factors played a role in Ledbetter’s death, although Virani claimed that the alcohol and drugs had nothing to do with the victim’s passing, saying that unless Ledbetter’s consumption of alcohol somehow resulted in his passing out, becoming unresponsive and ultimately becoming unable to breathe, it played no part in the alveolar damage Ledbetter suffered from.
Flores allegedly had an accomplice in the home invasion and subsequent stabbing according to news reports, which said that after his home was broken into and money demanded, Ledbetter was stabbed in the area of his hip and buttocks, as well as his leg.
Flores argued in his appeal that during the trial, the prosecutor “improperly vouched for the testimony” given by Ledbetter’s doctor, Jeffrey Mason, and Virani; however, the appeals court noted that during the prosecutor’s statement no objection was made, and that his commenting on the doctors’ testimony was not inappropriate.
There are many Michigan criminal defense attorneys who represent clients wishing to appeal a conviction or sentencing, but the fact is it takes special skill and experience to reach a successful outcome is these types of situations. Winning an appeal is not easy, and no lawyer can ever guarantee positive results.
If you have been unfairly convicted of a criminal offense or feel the sentence handed down was unjust, consult with a Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who has represented clients is these types of situations many times, and who has substantial experience with the court of appeals process. Having a knowledgeable, capable attorney on your side improves the odds for a good outcome.