New Trial Ordered in Wayne County

In a case on remand from the Court of Appeals to the Wayne County Circuit, the trial court considered newly discovered evidence of a witness unavailable at the time of the defendant’s trial and expert testimony relating to the composition of glass-fragments.  After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court, the Honorable Megan Maher Brennan, ordered a new trial.

 The defendant was convicted by jury of assault with intent to commit murder, armed robbery, and felony firearm in a case where the complaining witness gave conflicting versions of the events.  The complaining witness, who suffered a gunshot wound to his shoulder and injuries to one of his eyes from glass fragments, testified at trial that a codefendant grabbed the witness’s Cartier glasses from his face, causing them to shatter and sending pieces of glass into the complaining witness’s eye.  He testified that the defendant shot him as he ran away.

 The codefendant was later found, tried, and acquitted.  Among the evidence at the codefendant’s trial was one witness -- not available at the time of the defendant’s trial -- who cast doubt on the complaining witness’s testimony about where and how the shooting occurred, and a second witness who testified that the lenses in the complaining witness’s designer-glasses were a non-shattering polymide, and were not glass.  Additionally, the codefendant had evidence of an alibi: at the time of the alleged offense he was in police custody on an unrelated matter.

 Judge Megan Maher Brennan found that the testimony of both witnesses met the newly-discovered evidence standard of People v. Cress, 469 Mich. 678 (2003), was not cumulative evidence, and made a different result probable on retrial.

 The defendant in People v. Gary Lannette Montgomery, Circuit Court No. 15-001670-01-FC, was represented by SADO Assistant Defenders Valerie R. Newman and Michael R. Waldo.  A copy of the opinion is available at this link: and through the CDRC.

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor