In some cases, a “win” is a not guilty verdict at the end of a hard fought trial. In other cases, finding a way to avoid trial and still make your client happy is what’s best for all parties involved. In a case this week, while there was no trial, there was definitely a win for our client. Originally, our client was charged with two felonies: breaking and entering a building and malicious destruction of property – greater than $20,000. Each of these charges carries up to 10 years in the Michigan department of corrections, as well as thousands of dollars in fines. Our client has a wife and a young son, so even a jail sentence was not an option.
Thankfully, our client had hired two of Michigan’s top criminal defense attorneys. After having multiple meetings with the special prosecutor out of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, we were able to have both felony counts reduced to misdemeanors. Not only that, but we were able to lock in a sentence of probation, meaning our client wouldn’t have a spend a single night away from his family. However, this plea had another positive note to it. By only having two misdemeanors on his record, out client will be eligible to have his convictions set aside (expungement) after his probation is complete.
Chris Kessel is an expert in expungements and wanted to make sure that when this process is over, his client will have a clean record. In Michigan, a person may have two misdemeanors on their record and have them BOTH expunged afterwards. Thus, not only will our client avoid a felony conviction and jail time, but his record will be clean when all is said and done.
When police need to read you your Miranda rights.
Many times when a client first walks through the door of Nessel and Kessel Law and we begin to discuss their case, I’m often asked “how can they charge me, the police read me my rights?!” As some of the top Detroit criminal defense attorneys, I can tell you that this question comes from too many people watching too much Law & Order type television. While many people may not know it, the “rights” they are referring to are commonly referred to as “Miranda rights.”
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Defense Attorney Chris Kessel Files Motion and Gets Case Dismissed.
A Third Circuit Court judge agreed with criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel that a Highland Park police officer violated his client’s 4th Amendment rights, thereby causing the case t be dismissed. The client was thrilled when she realized that the charged against her were to be dropped because the prosecutor no longer had any evidence to support the charges. The case was unique in that an officer was totally and completely honest when he described how he violated the client’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. What was not unique was that the officer still did not believe he did anything wrong.
In his testimony, the officer described how he watched the client (legally) park her vehicle on the side of the road and then remain in the vehicle for several minutes. The officer admitted that he had no reason to suspect that the client was engaged in any criminal activity, whatsoever. Despite that fact, the officer activated his emergency lights and performed a traffic stop on the client. According to the officer, he was conducting a “wellness check.” Oddly enough, when cross examined by attorney Chris Kessel, the officer was forced to admit that he was not able to see anyone in the vehicle acting in a manner that would indicate anyone was in distress. The officer also testified that when he approached the client he asked her for her license and registration. His reason; “I wanted to know who I was talking to.” However, the officer was unable to respond when Chris Kessel asked, “if you wanted to know who you were talking to, why didn’t you just ask her for her name?”
After argument, the judge sided with Mr. Kessel, agreeing that the officer had no authority to stop the client. As such, the evidence recovered as a result of the traffic stop was suppressed and the case was dismissed.
On March 4, 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that would change the way concealed pistol licenses (CPL) were issued. Yesterday that bill went into effect. According to the Governor, the new bill will “streamline” how CPL’s are issued. However some, including those at Nessel & Kessel Law, are concerned that the new law will allow for more potentially dangerous persons to possess and conceal weapons.
Under the “old system” each county had a 3 member “gun board” that would consider applications for CPL’s. The board’s were comprised of various law enforcement officials; one of which was usually a member of the County Sheriff’s office. If the applicant was not expressly prohibited by law from receiving a CPL, the board could still request an interview with the applicant. The application could then be granted or denied based on the interview.
Under the new law, these gun boards have been dissolved. When a person applies for a CPL, the clerk’s office has 45 days to issue a CPL. If the applicant does not receive a denial after 45 days, his or her application will actually serve as a valid, temporary permit. Additionally, now it is the county clerks and state police that will take responsibility for the application process. Applicants must disclose whether they’ve been diagnosed with any mental illness. However, federal law prohibits the Michigan state police (which will now determine an applicant’s eligibility) from gaining access to mental health records. The only exception is if the applicant was involuntarily ordered to receive treatment by a court. Thus it’s likely no one will catch an applicant if he or she lies.
All this means that it will now become easier for citizens of Michigan to obtain CPL’s. Unfortunately the minimal training required to receive a CPL does not do nearly enough to prepare a person in the event that they are forced (or simply choose to) use their firearm. It is all too often that a person who legally owns and conceals their firearm will find themselves charged with a crime based on their use of the weapon. It only takes a few seconds and a person can find themselves facing gun charges like Felonious Assault, Brandishing a Firearm, Reckless Discharge of a Firearm, and Felony Firearm.
If you or a friend or family member has been charged with a gun crime, contact the defense attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law.
Criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel found himself in a rather unique position yesterday. The fact that he was holding a preliminary examination in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice was not unique, or even rare for that matter. The fact that Chris Kessel’s client was charged with First Degree Murder was also unremarkable. What made the situation so odd is that the prosecutor’s office claimed to have a confession by Chris Kessel’s client…and that the confession was made in the form of a rap verse that was alleged to have been recorded by the client.
At the preliminary exam, it was clear that much of the case against Michigan criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel’s client is circumstantial. Further, in a lengthy argument with the judge, Mr. Kessel argued that even if the court were to accept that the voice on the recording was his client’s, much of what is sung about in rap music is an exaggeration of facts. Because of the low threshold of evidence required to take the case beyond the preliminary exam stage, the case was bound over. However, defense attorney Chris Kessel is looking forward to fighting this case as it works its way through the justice system.
Because of the unique nature of the case – or rather the confession – it garnered media attention. Here is a link to the story done by Fox 2 and Charlie Langton. Here is a link to a story by the Metro Times.
Criminal defense attorney scores another Not Guilty
A sigh of relief was heard in Frank Murphy as criminal defense attorney Dana Nessel earned another not guilty verdict for her client last week. The client was charged with felonious assault and felony firearm. The felony firearm count carried a mandatory 2 year prison term. The felonious assault charge carried a maximum of 4 years in prison, though it is likely that the client would have received probation. The case was based solely upon the testimony of two security guards who worked at a local venue in the city of Detroit. Not only did the verdict mean that a mandatory prison sentence was avoided, but it paved the way for possible civil litigation against the venue.
The case came about as a result of a confrontation in downtown Detroit in January of 2014. Dana Nessel’s client was driving his vehicle down Woodward Ave., when the vehicle was struck with snow from a snow blower that was being operated in front of the local venue. The operator of the snow blower actually struck the client’s vehicle again when he (the client) slowed down. Eventually, the client got out of the car the confront the man (the complaining witness) about his having blasted the client’s car with snow. Words were exchanged, followed by the appearance of another man who worked at the venue. A physical altercation nearly ensued, but the confrontation ended when both the client and the second man (the second complaining witness) pulled their firearms. After the client left the scene, he called the police. However, he was forced to call the police several times until he realized that no one from the Detroit Police Department would take any action. Unfortunately, the complaining witness also called the police, leading ultimately to the client’s arrest. Thankfully the client’s next call was to the Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law.
Continue reading “Not Guilty Verdict for Dana Nessel” »
Non-medical Marijuana Sold in Colorado
Marijuana defense attorneys in Colorado lose sleep, and revenue, as Colorado becomes the first state to legalize the recreational purchase and use of marijuana. The law was passed earlier in 2013, but was put into effect on New Year’s Day. Literally thousands of people from across the country travelled to Denver, Colorado Springs, and other major Colorado cities for the opportunity to purchase marijuana legally.
The law, Amendment 64, looks to save Colorado approximately $12 million per year. In the first decade of the 2000’s, Colorado averaged near 10,000 arrests and tickets for minors possession and using marijuana. In 2013 the number dropped to approximately 4,500. But many attribute that drop to the knowledge of the upcoming legalization. The law does not allow for public use of marijuana, but at this point citizens are simply happy to be able to use the substance in the privacy of their own homes.
Unfortunately while there are many states that are looking at a push to legalize marijuana, Michigan is nowhere close to passing such a law. For more information on the current state of marijuana laws in Michigan and marijuana defense, as well as the possible charges that one could face if caught with marijuana, click here.
Drug cases tend to be the most complicated cases because of all the different issues that may come up. That means you need a marijuana defense attorney who knows the law and how to use it to your advantage. When a client retains Nessel and Kessel Law we immediately begin to develop a comprehensive strategy for success. Sometimes success means convincing the prosecutor to dismiss the charges completely, or have them greatly reduced. Other times it means a motion to suppress evidence to have the case dismissed by a judge, or fully preparing for trial and securing a not guilty verdict.
There are almost always 4th Amendment issues when dealing with narcotics charges because the arrest usually stems from a stop on the street or while driving, from the execution of a search warrant, or because of the use of a confidential informent to secure information used to perform a stop or obtain a warrant. Many times your case will hinge on whether or not your 4th Amendment rights have been violated.
Narcotics charges also hinge heavily on police officer testimony. Generally there will be multiple officers who take part in a “raid.” At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the necessary skill and experience to cross examine these officers and find the holes and cracks in their story, thereby allowing us to expose the lies and fabrications in their story. At Nessel and Kessel Law, not only do we know the law and how to use it to your advantage, but we know how to expose witnesses who are being less than honest.
Contact Nessel and Kessel Law today if you or a friend or family member has been charged with a drug offense.
Detroit defense attorney helps completely acquit client.
In the Third Circuit Court, before Judge Richard Skutt, Detroit defense attorney Dana Nessel helped to secure a complete Not Guilty verdict for her client. The client was charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct – 4th Degree, Indecent Exposure, and Assault & Battery. The charges stemmed from allegations that took place in Brownstown, Michigan. The claim was the our client, a female, began to grope another female co-worker. It was further claimed that our client exposed herself to several people in the group. These actions allegedly lead to a verbal and then physical altercation while the parties were still in the bar.
Our client was adamant that she was innocent of the charges brought against her, thus the case was scheduled for trial. The prosecution called several witnesses to support the allegations made against our client. Being a top Detroit defense attorney, skilled in the art of cross examination, Dana Nessel soon had several witnesses conflicting with each others’ stories. One of the witnesses actually almost broke down in tears when it became painfully obvious to all in the courtroom that she was simply making up facts as she went along. Continue reading “Client found Not Guilty of CSC 4th thanks to Detroit defense attorney” »
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Gets Case Dismissed
Michigan criminal defense attorney, Chris Kessel, of Nessel and Kessel Law, struck another blow for justice today in Wayne County Circuit Court by convincing the court to dismiss the charge of Assault by Strangulation/Suffocation. The offense itself is a newly defined crime in the State of Michigan. The law actually went into effect April 1, 2013. It was alleged that the client put his hands around the neck of the complainant and applied pressure so as to impede her breathing of blood circulation. This particular allegation is what lead the prosecutor to bring the strangulation charge.
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In a recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court, medical marijuana users are ruled not to be automatically breaking the law if they drive after using the drug.
In 2010 Rodney Koon was stopped in Grand Traverse County and ticketed for Operating While Intoxicated. As a result of the stop Mr. Koon had his blood tested and it was found that he had THC in his blood. Despite the fact that Mr. Koon had a valid prescription for marijuana, he was prosecuted for OWI. According to the Court, medical marijuana users have some protection from this type of prosecution because the prosecutor must prove that the driver of a vehicle was actually under the influence of the drug at the time they were operating the vehicle. Simply showing that THC is present in the blood stream is not enough to convict.
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