Michigan

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Titlesort descending Summary
People v. Lee (Unpublished)


Known and suspected dogfighters,

Roderick Lee, Shedrick Lee, and Demar Garvin were jointly tried before a single jury for drug-related offenses. The jury convicted each defendant of conspiracy to deliver or possess with intent to deliver 650 or more grams of a controlled substance. The trial court sentenced each defendant to a prison term of 30 to 60 years. Defendants appealed on equal protection grounds, on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, on grounds of insufficient evidence and of improper admission of prejudicial and/or irrelevant evidence, on grounds of improper jury instruction, and further argued that they were entitled to resentencing. The appellate court confirmed the convictions and sentences.

People v. McKnight


Defendant was convicted of willfully and maliciously killing animals for kicking a dog to death.  Defendant argued on appeal that dogs were not included under the statute punishing the willful and malicious killing of horses, cattle, or

other beasts

of another.  The court found that the term "other beasts" includes dogs.  Further, defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of the requisite willful and malicious intent to kill the dog.  The court disagreed and held that inferences from the surrounding circumstances were sufficient to support a finding of malicious intent.  The court affirmed his convictions.

People v. Minney


Defendant was convicted of mutilating the horse of another.  He argued on appeal that the trial court's jury instructions, which read that malice toward the owner of the horse was not necessary, were incorrect.  The court agreed and found that although the general malice of the law of crime is sufficient to support the offense, the trial court must instruct that malice is an essential element of the offense.

People v. Olary


Defendant argued that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, he pointed out that there was no direct testimony with regard to the cause of the injuries to his cows.  The court disagreed and held that inattention to the condition of the animals was sufficient to constitute the offense of cruelty to animals. 

People v. Olary (On Appeal)


Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of cruelty to animals.  Specifically, defendant argued that the Court of Appeals erroneously upheld the conviction because of his inattention to the condition of the cows and failure to provide medical treatment, when such action or failure to act was not punishable under the anti-cruelty statute.  The Supreme Court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction of cruelty to animals because as a farmer, defendant could have realized that his conduct was cruel. 

People v. Parker (Unpublished)



Defendants-appellees, who were bound over on


the charge of knowingly attending an animal fight and of knowingly organizing, promoting, or collecting money for the fighting of an animal, filed a motion to suppress evidence and motions to quash the information. The trial court granted the motions and dismissed the case. The prosecution appealed and the appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to create an issue of fact, and that evidence that had been obtained in violation of defendant Parker's Fourth Amendment rights was admissible against all defendants except Parker. Finally, as to the defendants' challenge that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad, the court declared that it had already determined that the language was neither vague nor overbroad. Reversed and remanded for trial. 

People v. Preston


Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing three cows.  The issue considered on review was: "Are the circumstances and testimony here, aliunde the confession of the respondent, sufficient to create such a probability that the death of the cattle in question was intentionally caused by human intervention and to justify the admission in evidence of the alleged confession of the respondent?"  The court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction.

People v. Proehl (unpublished)


Defendant was convicted of failing to provide adequate care to 16 horses. On appeal, Defendant first argued that, to him, nothing appeared to be wrong with his horses and, consequently, no liability can attach. The court disagreed, explaining: "Defendant's personal belief that his horses were in good health . . . was therefore based on fallacy, and has no effect on his liability under the statute." Defendant also maintained that he is an animal hoarder, which is a "psychological condition" that mitigates his intent. Rejecting this argument, the court noted that Defendant’s "hoarding" contention is based upon a non-adopted bill which, in any event, fails to indicate whether animal hoarding may serve as a proper defense.

People v. Strobridge


In this Michigan case, the defendant appealed his conviction of keeping more than three dogs on his premises without a kennel license in violation of Grandville ordinances, § 21, No. 159-A.  On appeal, defendant asserted that the trial court improperly denied his “nonconforming use” defense; that is, he claimed the ordinance at issue was a zoning ordinance rather than a regulatory ordinance.

 

Relying on a case that held that prior nonconforming use (where a person has been using property in a nonconforming way prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance), the court found that indeed defendant was entitled to present such a defense, as he owned the dogs on the property prior to adoption of the ordinance.  Defendant next argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the ordinance was a constitutional exercise of the city's police power.  While the court observed that criminal ordinances are to be more strictly construed than ordinances involving a civil penalty, it still found that the ordinance at issue was a valid exercise of police power, especially considering that a previous case had upheld a similar ordinance that limited ownership to only two dogs.

People v. Tessmer


Defendant was convicted of wilfully and maliciously killing the horse of another.  Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction because there was no proof of malice toward the owner of the horse.  The court held that the general malice of the law of crime was sufficient to support the conviction. 

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