Law Blog

Detroit Defense Attorney Shines at Preliminary Exam

Felony Firearm Charges Dismissed

Thanks to arguments made by Chris Kessel after a preliminary exam, the weapons charges against a client of Nessel and Kessel Law were dismissed by a judge at the 36th District CourtOur client was charges with Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW), Felon In Possession of a Firearm (FIP) and Felony Firearm (FF).  These charges often accompany each other because they can all be charged by the commission of one simple act; possessing a gun.  The charges stemmed from an encounter our client had with 3 Detroit Police Officers.

At the preliminary exam, the officer testified that he observed the client in the street with another gentleman.  He said that he saw the two men perform what he believed was a “hand to hand” transaction, which made him suspicious that a narcotics transaction was occurring.  The officer and his partners stopped the two men and ordered them to put their hands up.  The client put both arms up, then dropped one arm.  The officer said this made him suspicious that the client was armed, frisked him, and recovered a small revolver from his back pocket.  This search is what recovered the evidence leading to the felony firearm charges. 

On cross-examination, Mr. Kessel forced the officer to admit that the action he observed the two men make looked exactly like a handshake.  While still being cross-examined, the officer admitted that the client made no movements towards his pockets (especially not his back pocket), complied with all of the officers orders, and did nothing that would make the officer actually suspect the client was armed.

Mr. Kessel’s argument that the search of the client violated the client’s 4th amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures started with the phrase, “Your honor, I guess what the prosecutor is saying is that two black men shaking hands in the middle of the street is now enough to raise reasonable suspicion that there may be criminal activity going on.”  Mr. Kessel argued that there was no evidence to suggest that client was armed or was in possession of any other illegal contraband.  Despite the prosecutor’s best efforts, Judge Cylenthia LaToye Miller agreed with Mr. Kessel and found that the client’s 4th Amendment rights had been violated, suppressed all of the evidence and dismissed the case.

Weapons charges are incredibly serious in the State of Michigan.  Particularly serious is the Felony Firearm charge, which carries with it a MANDATORY 2 year sentence in prison.  This 2 year sentence must be served consecutive to any other time that must be served by a defendant.  Most gun cases involve 4th Amendment issues, meaning that you need an attorney who is an expert in this area.  But not only do you need an attorney who knows the law, but an attorney who is skilled in the art of cross-examination, especially when you are dealing with police officers; aka professional witnesses.  Attorneys are a dime a dozen, but a felony firearm attorney who knows the law and how to use it to your advantage…now that’s something special.  Contact Nessel and Kessel Law for a free consultation if you, a family member, or a friend is facing weapons charges.

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