SADO Attorneys to argue before MSC at March session

March 13 & 14, 2024, Hall of Justice, Lansing MI
SADO Director Jonathan Sacks and Assistant Defenders Claire Ward and Jacqueline McCann will present argument before the Michigan Supreme Court on March 13 and 14, 2024. The cases present issues involving implied testimonial hearsay, the voluntariness of guilty pleas, and restitution.

Jonathan Sacks, People v Lantz Howard Washington, MSC No. 165296 (COA No. 353052)

Issue: Implied testimonial hearsay

The Court directed the parties to address: “(1) whether evidence directly implying the substance of a testimonial, out-of-court statement made by an unavailable witness and offered to prove its truth, i.e., ‘implied testimonial hearsay,’ is inadmissible because it violates the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, § 20 of Michigan’s Constitution; and, if so, (2) whether the defendant’s incriminating statements were inadmissible under the corpus delicti rule.” The case is set for argument on March 13 at 1:40 PM.

Claire Ward, People v William Edward Neilly, MSC No. 165185 (COA No. 358043)

Issue: Restitution/Punishment/Ex Post Facto Clause

The Court directed the parties to address: “(1) whether restitution constitutes punishment for purposes of the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the United States Constitution, US Const, art I, § 10, and the Michigan Constitution, Const 1963, art 1, § 10; (2) whether application of the current versions of the restitution statutes rather than the statutes in effect when the defendant was convicted ‘disadvantage[d]’ him for purposes of the Ex Post Facto Clauses, Weaver v Graham, 450 US 24, 29 (1981); see also People v Lueth, 253 Mich App 670, 693 (2002); and (3) if there is an Ex Post Facto Clause violation, what is the appropriate remedy?” The case is set for argument on March 14 at 10 AM.

Jacqueline McCann, People v Dwight T. Samuels, MSC No. 164050 (COA No. 353302)

Issue: Voluntariness of guilty plea induced by offer of leniency to a relative

The Court directed the parties to address: “(1) whether a trial court is required to hold an evidentiary hearing on the voluntariness of a guilty plea that is induced in part by an offer of leniency to a relative, see People v James, 393 Mich 807 (1975); and if so, (2) how a trial court is to determine whether an offer of leniency to a relative ‘rendered the defendant’s plea involuntary in fact.’ Id.” The case is set for argument on March 14 at 11 AM.

Case briefs and related materials are available at this link.

The arguments can be watched at this link.