In People v. Ratcliff the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s assessment of ten points instead of zero points under offense variable 19 (“OV 19″) because the defendant fled from police. OV 19 requires the trial court to assess ten points if the offender interfered or attempted to interfere with the administration of justice. The court also rejected several other challenges to defendant’s conviction including the sufficiency of the evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel.
The court reasoned that fleeing from police can “easily become ‘interference with the administration of justice’” where there was an effective command to stop. In this case the defendant was a passenger in a stolen car. Police approached, turned on their lights and sirens, and shouted “freeze.” The driver of the car ignored the order and drove away. Once the stolen car stopped, the defendant exited and fled on foot. The court reasoned that although the defendant was not driving, he understood he was under an order to refrain from moving and subsequently fled on foot. These actions were sufficient to justify an assessment of ten points for OV 19.