Completing 2 back to back trials is always a difficult endeavor. To be successful at any trial requires a lot of preparation, skill, and experience.
Recently I defended a difficult case before Judge Cheryl Matthews of the 6th Circuit Court concerning an allegation of Fleeing and Eluding in the Second Degree. A large challenge when it comes to a defense of this allegation is that one of the elements of this offense is that the Defendant has a prior conviction for Fleeing and Eluding in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Degree. It is part of the jury instructions, and it cannot be removed from the jury’s consideration because it is an element and not an enhancement, even though this type of information is highly prejudicial. In this case the best solution was to embrace this weakness and make it part of my defense. The defense presented to the jury was that of misidentification.
The general facts to the case were that an officer from Hazel Park observed a speeding vehicle, and attempted to pull the vehicle over in a residential area. The speeding vehicle briefly pulled over, and fled at a high rate of speed when the officer was about to step from his patrol vehicle. At this point in time the officer claimed he was able to see the driver for about 1 to 2 seconds, from a distance of 45 to 60 feet away, looking at the driver from an angle as he turned from one street to another. The pursuit ended at an abandoned area of the Michigan State Fairgrounds, when the fleeing vehicle smashed through a fence and the driver took off running. Despite setting up a perimeter, and bringing to the scene a tracking dog, the police officers were unable to locate the driver of the vehicle. The officer claimed that my client was the driver after looking at a driver’s license photo through a police database after the fact and concluding that this was the person the officer observed earlier that day.