Last week, in the 36th District Court, criminal defense attorneys Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel secured a major victory for their client. Charges of armed robbery, felonious assault, and felony firearm, were all dismissed against our client. The charges were brought as a result of an altercation where 5 people were present; the complaining witness and the 4 defendants. The complaining witness claimed that he went to the home of one of the defendants, where all 4 men (including our client) were present. According to the testimony, the 4 men asked the complaining witness about some money the men believed the man owed them. Then, the conversation turned violent as three of he men engaged in a fight with the complaining witness. The key was that there was never any testimony that our client was involved in the physical fight. Eventually the men separated, at which point our client had a conversation with the complaining witness about the money he believed he was owed. However, at that point, one of the other three men pulled a gun and began shooting into the air.
All four men were charged with armed robbery, felonious assault, and felony firearm. At the preliminary exam, the attorney for the other defendants focused their attention primarily on the actions of the complaining witness. However, Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel had a different strategy; focusing on the actions of their client. Through extensive cross-examination of the complaining witness, Dana Nessel was able to establish that our client took no part in the actual fight, nor did he attempt to take any money from the complaining witness.
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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.
Chris Kessel secures another NG verdict for his client
The client reacted with tears of joy when the jury read back its verdict; “not guilty of the offense of felony firearm, not guilty of the offense of felon in possession of a firearm.” It was a well-earned victory for the client and criminal defense attorney, Chris Kessel. Had the verdict gone the other way, the client was facing a minimum of 2 years in prison.
The case, heard at the Third Circuit Court, stemmed from a complaint received by the Detroit Police, that a man had been firing a shotgun in front of a house in the early morning hours. When the police arrived on the scene they met the client, who was seen exiting a home. When questioned by the police, the client said he had no knowledge of a gun being fired in the area. What happened after that differs depending on whose story you believe. Thankfully the jury did not believe the officers.
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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.
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Client acquitted on Felony Murder and Second Degree Murder Charges
Michigan criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel’s jury returned a not guilty verdict on felony murder and second degree charges that were brought against Mr. Kessel’s client. The verdict came down after a two week trial which featured more than 20 witnesses and over 90 pieces of evidence. The alleged homicide took place after a robbery that “went wrong” according to the prosecutor.
Mr. Kessel’s client was alleged to have been a member of a 7 person crew that committed a robbery on the East side of the Detroit in the summer of 2012. According to the prosecutor, Mr. Kessel’s client and several other young men planned to rob a home for – depending on which witness you believed – money, guns, pills, video game systems, and other various property. After the robbery took place, the men were exiting and encountered a man calling the police, who was then shot. Almost immediately after the shooting, one of the suspects was taken into custody and immediately cut a deal with the prosecution. Soon after a second suspect was also taken into custody. The case against Mr. Kessel’s client began to form around the information provided by the suspects who were first taken into custody. Despite the shooting taking place in August of 2012, Mr. Kessel’s client was not taken into custody until the Spring of 2013.
The collection of evidence continued for months and trial did not begin until the middle of June, 2014. The prosecution’s case was separated into three segments: police witnesses, civilian witnesses, and co-conspirators. The prosecution began by calling several officers who arrived at the scene and collected various pieces of evidence, including ballistic remains of bullets that were fired after the robbery. After cross examination, it was revealed that none of these witnesses were able to connect any of the evidence to Mr. Kessel’s client. The second group of witnesses, the civilians, were comprised of some actual witnesses to the actual shooting and robbery. Some of these witnesses testified that they witnessed the shooting. However, again, none of these witnesses were able to point to Mr. Kessel’s client as the shooter.
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