In August of 2010, Lois Kay Cloud was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her husband, Kenneth Cloud. Cloud was sitting in his truck outside a Burgers and Beer restaurant and was struck in the neck by a bullet when Vincent Lee Accardo, the alleged hitman, fired a gun. Lois Cloud was with her husband, but was standing outside the vehicle at the time of the shooting and was not injured.
The murder of Kenneth Cloud, who was a wealthy Yuma farmer, occurred in 1997. Accardo, the hitman Lois Cloud allegedly hired, died from natural causes in 2011 while in prison for the murder; he had been sentenced to death.
Lois Cloud was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder, facilitation to commit first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, and hindering prosecution. Cloud appealed her life sentence to the Arizona Court of Appeals, her attorney arguing on her behalf that there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction, that several errors were committed during the trial, evidence was improperly admitted, that Cloud was deprived of her right to a speedy trial, prosecutorial misconduct, and more.
The appellate attorney also argued that the Yuma County Superior Court abused its discretion during the trial when Cloud’s request for a mistrial was denied. She requested a mistrial alleging improper testimony and late-disclosed evidence. Conversations which were recorded between Cloud and Accardo during a wiretap investigation were also admitted in court, another fact which the appellate attorney challenged.
The appeals court determined in its 21-page decision that Cloud’s conviction and sentence would remain, and that there were no reversible errors.
Michigan criminal appeals lawyers understand how difficult it is to have a conviction or sentence overturned, even when it seems you have a solid argument. It is rare that an appeals court agrees with a defendant and overturns a conviction or sends a case back to court for resentencing. However, one critical key in success with an appeal is having an attorney who is skilled and highly experienced in the appeals process.
Errors are made in the criminal justice system; mistakes can be made by prosecutors, judges, even jurors. If you feel you have been wrongly convicted or sentenced too harshly, consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan criminal appeals attorney who will review your case to determine whether there may be solid grounds for appeal.