For our subscribers

Subscribers to the Criminal Defense Resource Center’s online resources, found at, have access to more than 1,800 appellate pleadings filed by SADO Attorneys in the last five years.  The brief bank is updated regularly and is open to anyone who wants to subscribe to online access.  On our site, briefs are searchable by keyword, results can be organized by relevance or date, and the pleadings can be filtered by court of filing.  Below are some of the issues presented in briefs added to our brief bank in the last few weeks. For confidentiality purposes, names of clients and witnesses have been removed.

NOTE: We are now identifying briefs in the bank by docket number (MSCxxxxxx for Supreme Court cases, COAxxxxxx for Court of Appeals cases), but you will also find the case you are seeking by entering the docket number alone. During our transition to the new identifying system, the docket number you enter may bring up unrelated briefs that include a matching number (for example, MDOC number or former “BB” identifier). We are working to minimize this consequence of the transition.


The trial court erred by deciding on its own initiative to try defendant’s cases jointly, both to the extent that the court did not allow the parties to be heard on the matter, and because the cases are unrelated.


Mandatory LWOP is cruel or unusual punishment for 21-year-olds—late adolescents whose brains are not yet fully developed.


The trial court erred in denying the defense motion to suppress evidence seized through unlawful warrantless searches, conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, § 11 of the Michigan Constitution.


The trial court violated defendant’s right to a speedy trial. The failure to hold a trial for ten months, during which time the court repeatedly refused to lower bond or release defendant under MCR 6.004, prejudiced defendant and requires reversal.


The law of the case doctrine prevents the prosecution from getting a second bite at the apple on the issue of whether the trial court erred when it found defendant’s counsel prejudicially ineffective. The trial court and this Court decided the issues without error and are bound by those decisions.


Defendant was denied a fair trial where the fact that a key witness against him was facing pending felony charges was not disclosed to the jury. If there was a deal in place or implied for that witness’s testimony that was not disclosed that would be further error. Defendant was denied his state and federal rights to due process by prosecutorial misconduct and/or ineffective assistance of counsel in these regards. Defendant is entitled to a new trial or, if this Court has not granted a remand yet, he is at least entitled to a remand for an evidentiary hearing and to move for new trial on these grounds.


The trial court reversibly erred in admitting a witness’s testimony, pursuant to MCL 768.27a, alleging that defendant had sexually assaulted her decades earlier when they were minors, including alleged incidents when defendant was as young as six- or seven-years old and she was two- or three-years-old, over defense counsel’s objections.


Where the prosecutor presented materially distinct theories of defendant’s guilt on an inherently confusing resisting or obstructing charge, trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request a specific unanimity instruction.


Defendant is entitled to a new trial because the lead plume test used by the forensic laboratory and testified to by an expert is wholly unreliable junk science that prejudiced defendant’s self-defense claim and was inadmissible under MRE 702 or MRE 403. Trial counsel was ineffective for neither objecting on these grounds nor consulting with a firearms expert before trial.


Because defendant’s mere possession of drugs did not threaten a jail’s security, OV 19 was scored incorrectly. Defendant is entitled to resentencing.


Defendant was denied his right to a fair trial when the prosecutor made civic duty arguments, repeatedly urging the jury to “do the right thing” by convicting defendant, and when the prosecutor commented on the quality of the star witness’s testimony. Alternatively, trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object.


MCL 333.7405(1)(d)’s prohibition on keeping or maintaining a drug house is unconstitutionally vague, particularly when applied under an aiding and abetting theory. In the alternative, there was insufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant kept or maintained her boyfriend’s home.


Defendant’s waiver of counsel was not unequivocal, voluntary, knowing, or intelligent because the trial court failed to comply with the basic requirements for waiver of counsel. This structural error requires a new trial.


The trial court erred by allowing an officer to tell the jury his interpretation of what he saw in the video – an interpretation that implicated defendant. In the alternative, defendant’s counsel was ineffective for failing to cite any Rule of Evidence in his objection to the testimony.


The trial court erred when it allowed a detective to testify as to a witness’s identification of defendant as the shooter. A statement made days after the shooting in a hospital is not an excited utterance.

John Zevalking
Associate Editor