36th district court

Murder Charges Dismissed

After facing murder charges stemming from an event that took place in 2015, our client almost fell over when a judge at the 36th district court ruled that the case would be dismissed for lack of evidence.  Michigan defense attorney Chris Kessel was thrilled with the result, as he walked out of the courtroom with his client’s family.

The charges had actually been issues once before, back in 2015, but had been dismissed because a witness failed to appear.  When the case was reissued our client was plucked from his home and dropped into the Wayne County Jail, not fully understanding what had happened.  Several witnesses testified at the preliminary exam, though none of them could say that our client had been driving a vehicle at the time the vehicle was involved in a fatal crash.  However, unlike the first time the case was brought, the prosecution presented an additional witness who testified that someone had told him that the client was seen driving an automobile that was involved in an accident.  However, because the witness, an EMS worker, could not identify who spoke to him or describe the manner of the statement, Detroit defense attorney Chris Kessel objected to the statements as hearsay. 

At the end of the exam the judge took the extraordinary step of ordering the transcript of the hearing so that he could determine whether or not the new witness could support the renewed charges of murder.  After several week of consideration, the judge ruled that the new witness could not sustain the reissuance of the charges and the case as dismissed.    

Murder and Assault charges are often fueled by emotional and hostile witnesses.  More often than not, a verdict will hang solely on the testimony of a complaining witness.  The means that you need an attorney who is skilled in the art of cross examination, who can force a witness to admit things that may contradict earlier statements, police reports, hospital records, and other witnesses.  Other times a case will turn on what the defendant’s intent was during the alleged assault.  It can often times be difficult if not impossible to prove what someone’s intent was.  At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the experience needed to persuade a prosecutor, judge, or jury that you did not have the necessary intent to convict.  

If you or a family member has been changed with an assaultive, contact the defense lawyers at Nessel and Kessel Law today.


Violent Animal Charges Dismissed After Motion Hearing

In the 36th District Court, criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel won a significant legal victory for his client, resulting in multiple charges, some of which required mandatory jail time, being dismissed.  Our client was charged with possessing a vicious animal, owning an unlicensed animal, and allowing a dog to walk without a leash.  The possessing a vicious animal charge required a mandatory jail sentence.  These charges stemmed from an unfortunate incident where our client’s dog got off its leash and bit a local teenager.

Regarding the possession of a vicious animal charge, it was attorney Chris Kessel’s position that in order to be convicted for possessing a vicious animal, the prosecution needed to prove that the client had some actual or prior knowledge that the dog in question was actually vicious.  It was the City of Detroit’s position that, despite the fact that the animal in question had NEVER been involved in any type of biting incident prior, that our client could still be convicted because the crime is a “strict liability” crime.  A strict liability crime is one where there is no requirement of the defendant to have the intent to commit a crime, but only to have the intent to commit an act that later turns out to be against the law.  Thus, it was Detroit defense attorney Chris Kessel’s position that because our client didn’t know the animal was capable of being vicious she could not be convicted of possessing a vicious animal.

At a motion hearing before Judge Bryant-Weekes, Mr. Kessel presented argument citing the Michigan court of appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Kessel argued that at its most basic, common law level, unless specifically noted otherwise, all statutes should have some requirement of “bad intent” before a person is convicted of a criminal offense.  After lengthy briefs were filed and arguments were made, Judge Bryant-Weekes issued her written opinion siding with Mr. Kessel.  Thus, because there was no way the City of Detroit could prove our client had any knowledge that the animal was “vicious”, the charges were dismissed.