After months of work, the Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC is pleased to announce that 36th District Court Judge Nance-Adams dismissed Murder in the First Degree and related violent-crime charges against one of the Firm's clients this morning. The dismissal followed an extensive preliminary examination that initially started in mid-December. The client, who had been held without bond, is scheduled to be released from the Wayne County Jail later today.
Relying mostly on video footage of the shooting on a street-corner in Detroit, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office argued that the person in the video looked sufficiently similar to the Firm's client to justify sending the matter to trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. Noting that the State's only alleged eye-witness failed to appear for cross-examination by Mr. Freeman on two separate occasions, notwithstanding the Prosecutor's Office having obtained an arrest warrant for the witness, Judge Nance-Adams ruled that probable cause was lacking, and the case had to be dismissed for insufficient evidence.
This case highlights the importance of preliminary examinations in Michigan. Rather than waiting many more months for trial, clients have the right to a preliminary examination early in a felony case wherein the state's evidence can be challenged. Judges must evaluate that evidence and determine whether (a) there is probable cause that a crime was committed, and (b) whether the defendant committed the crime. Thankfully, for the firm's client today, the answer was no and the justice system worked.
Notwithstanding today's example of why accused individuals should be entitled to a preliminary examination, in recent years there has been discussion in the Michigan legal community about abolishing preliminary examinations. Such proposals, however, threaten to dilute the protections afforded the accused and erode the constitutional underpinnings of the criminal justice system. The principals of innocent until proven guilty, and the right to confront witnesses against the accused, require preliminary examinations if they are to mean anything.
If you or a loved one are facing serious criminal charges, including murder, robbery, assault, or felony firearm, contact an experienced Detroit criminal defense attorney today. At the Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC, we will put our 24 years of experience to work for you. Let us test the state's evidence at a preliminary examination. As expected, our client today is glad we did.