Articles Posted in Michigan Self Defense Laws

Senior Trial Attorney Michael J. Boyle of the Barone Defense Firm recently presented on the Michigan Self Defense Laws at the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) Fall Conference at Boyne Mountain. At the seminar Mike discussed, described, and distinguished between Michigan’s Castle Doctrine and Michigan’s Stand Your Ground Laws. The title of his presentation was: Defending Self-Defense: Understanding Stand Your Ground, the Castle Doctrine, and Defending the Victim.

This topic and presentation were unique at CDAM and covered an area of criminal defense law that has rarely been presented in any significance in any forum. In addition to the didactic portion of the lecture Boyle also offered a trial skills portion which allowed those present to take what they’d just learned, assimilate it, and practice using the information on a “real” sample case.

In preparing for his lecture, Mike utilized both the knowledge he’s gained over the years handling these kinds of cases as well as his trial skills expertise. In addition to decades of trial practice where Mike honed his own trial skills, he is also a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College.

The only way to know the answer to this question would be to actually try the case in front of a Michigan Jury. One thing for certain however is that Kyle Rittenhouse would have been allowed to raise a claim of self defense had the case happened here in Michigan. Presumably, if it was the exact same testimony and evidence, same jurors, judge and prosecutor, then yes, Kyle Rittenhouse would have been acquitted here in Michigan too.

This is all speculation, but a brand-new case in Michigan may shed light on the question. The name of the case is People of the State of Michigan v Leandrew Martin. The case arose out of the Jackson County Circuit Court, and was decided on November 18, 2021. In this case, the Michigan Court of Appeals set aside multiple felony convictions because the defendant’s lawyer had failed to request a jury instruction for self-defense despite the fact that a claim of self-defense had been established at trial.  The court held that this mistake was so bad that the verdict had to be set aside finding that the defendant’s attorney was “ineffective.”

The case arose out a bar fight and during the fight the defendant shot ten times into a crowd, leaving one person with a serious injury caused by ricocheted bullet that struck the foot. The defendant was a felon and was not in lawful possession of the pistol. Because of this the defendant’s lawyer thought he was not entitled to raise self-defense. It’s not clear why the defendant’s lawyer believed this to be true because Michigan’s laws of self-defense do not require that a defendant be in lawful possession of the weapon in order to raise a claim of self defense.

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