On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave in one case and remanded one case to the Court of Appeals for consideration of an additional issue. The Court also took substantive action in the following cases:
People v. Whitaker: the Court reversed, in part, the decision of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to the Wayne County Circuit Court for a hearing to obtain testimony of an alibi witness. After the hearing, the circuit court is ordered to grant a new trial unless it finds that the absence of the witness from the first trial is harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. The order can be found here.
People v. Oliver: the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals, vacated the trial court’s sentence, and remanded the case to the Genesee County Circuit Court for resentencing. The Court explained that the trial court failed to offer a valid explanation of why an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines was warranted. Justice Weaver dissented, relying on her opinion in People v. Babcock, 469 Mich. 247, 280-84 (2003), because she believed that the trial court offered “a substantial and compelling reason” for its departure. The order can be found here.
People v. Biskner: the Court remanded the case to the Tuscola County Circuit Court in lieu of granting leave to appeal for a hearing under People v. Ginther, 390 Mich. 436 (1973), to assess appellate counsel’s claim that trial defense counsel was ineffective because she failed to request a jury instruction on a lesser-included offense. The Court retained jurisdiction. Justices Corrigan and Young dissented because they believe the request for a Ginther hearing was waived in the lower courts. The order can be found here.