Articles Posted in Violent Crimes

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a Michigan resisting arrest case in which the defendant claimed his conviction could not stand because he was lawfully resisting a police officer’s illegal seizure. Ultimately, the court agreed with the defendant, and reversed his conviction.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, police officers received a phone call reporting a man with a gun in a trailer park. Upon the officers’ arrival, the trailer park manager explained several people were in one of the trailers who did not live in the park. One of the men, the manager explained, appeared to be drunk and was waving a handgun around.

Police officers went to the trailer and knocked on the door. A woman answered. Officers told her to have everyone exit the trailer. The defendant exited, and an officer immediately grabbed him, telling him to “come this way.” The defendant complied, but was visibly intoxicated. The officers began asking the defendant questions, which eventually centered around whether he had a gun. The defendant explained he was licensed to carry a gun, and his gun was in his car. He denied brandishing the weapon. The officers asked three times where specifically the gun was; each time, the defendant inquired if they had a warrant. The third time the defendant asked whether the officers had a warrant, one of the officers grabbed the defendant and pushed him up against the car. The defendant resisted, leading to a resisting arrest charge.

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Earlier this year, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Michigan homicide case discussing the lower court’s decision to exclude evidence of the defendant’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ultimately, the court determined that the lower court properly excluded the evidence and denied the defendant’s appeal.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the defendant was involved in an altercation with the co-owner of an after-hours club. Evidently, the two men got into an argument earlier in the evening, and witnesses heard both men saying that they would return with a gun. The victim returned with a shotgun, that he held at his side as he locked up the club. The defendant also returned to the club. While no one saw what happened, it was uncontested that the victim was shot eight times. Later, the defendant admitted to shooting the victim.

At trial, the defendant attempted to present evidence that he had PTSD. PTSD is a mental health condition that stems from a traumatic event. Those who have PTSD can be triggered by certain events, sounds, sights, or feelings, bringing them back to the moment of the original trauma. Evidently, the defendant was the victim of a prior shooting, that left him with permanent brain damage. In the defense expert’s opinion, this affected the defendant’s ability to control his impulses when he felt threatened. The defendant intended on admitting the evidence to help establish his claim that he shot the victim in self-defense.

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