Shyler has had the Court of Appeals reversed by the Supreme Court of Michigan for the third time in three months. We aren’t sure if this is a record, but no one is counting when it comes to liberating cannabis users from the oppressive State of Michigan. This time, we tried for the holy-grail of medical marijuana defenses — attempting to have caregiver-to-caregiver transfers recognized by the Supreme Court. Imagine, a regulatory system where plants can be cared for by more than one person. While the Supreme Court passed on the issue, Michigan’s court of final review determined that the lesser courts failed to recognize the 2016 amendments to the MMMA, and have reversed both the Court of Appeals and the Circuit Court in our latest appeal. Soon, cannabis liberation will come to the State of Michigan, whether the ruling political class wants it or not. Our latest result is available here.
Just three weeks after the Michigan Supreme Court granted leave and remanded our Section 8 appeal to the Court of Appeals, today, we received notice that the Supreme Court granted another application for leave to appeal in an entirely different case.
Shyler learned that a Macomb County resident had been sentenced to five to fifteen years in prison over marijuana convictions and probation violations. Shyler immediately appealed the court’s sentence arguing that the sentence was unreasonable. The Court of Appeals denied our appeal, however, today, the Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeals consider whether our client’s sentence was reasonable.
Recently, the Supreme Court issued People v Lockridge, a decision that expands trial court discretion in criminal sentencing. If our appeal is successful, it will reinforce the notion that the punishment must fit the crime, and that five years in prison for marijuana is unreasonable.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was arrested along with two other people after less than one gram of marijuana found in a car that our client was sitting in. No admissions were made to the police, and our client denied that the marijuana was his, and that he did not even know that the marijuana was in the car. Without any medical protections, we set the matter for a jury trial. On the day of trial, the prosecutor offered to dismiss the case for a civil infraction. Our client accepted the deal, and left the courthouse without any conviction.
After more than a year and more than a dozen hearings, a long fight finally ended with a severely reduced plea bargain and a Cobb’s evaluation to a lengthy term of probation. This case started with a raid by the DEA. More marijuana and plants were in our client’s home than authorized by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Inevitably, a safety deposit box was located and more than $100,000 in cash was seized by the federal government. The home was not subject to forfeiture, but there was an understanding that if we put up much of a fight, it would be. Despite the federal government being involved, we were able to secure the return of a significant portion of the cash in the civil forfeiture proceedings. Our client was charged with six felony counts: Conducting Criminal Enterprises (Michigan’s version of RICO), a 20 year felony, both the 4 and 7 year Manufacture of Marijuana felonies, conspiracy charges, and Maintaining a Drug House. Our client was a Habitual 4th Offender, meaning the judge could send our client to prison for life. Our client’s minimum sentencing guidelines were for many years in prison. We mounted the appropriate defenses and were prepared to take the case to trial. After hundreds of hours of work, half the charges were dismissed, including the 20 year felony, and the judge agreed to sentence our client to probation.
After one year of legal twists and turns, more than a dozen court hearings, bond violations, and motions, a Shyler Engel, PLLC client, was finally was sentenced to HYTA Probation in one of the firmest sentencing courts in Oakland County. This was an overwhelming success for our client. More than one year ago, our client sold an appreciable amount of marijuana multiple times to multiple undercover agents in a drug task force. There were not any medical marijuana protections. At the time the felony manufacture and delivery charges were brought, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act only permitted people under the age of 21 to utilize this provision. Our client was 23 at the time of the incidents. We knew that changes to HYTA were coming down from the Legislature, so we filed a motion to stay proceedings under then-undecided the Section 8 Supreme Court cases Hartwick/Tuttle. Our motion was granted to stay the case. After Hartwick and Tuttle were decided, the changes to HYTA had come into effect, and we sought an agreement with the prosecutor to attain HYTA. We are thankful the prosecution agreed that our client should benefit from HYTA despite his older age and seriousness of his crimes. At the time the plea was entered, HTYA was promised by the judge on the condition that the Defendant not use drugs or alcohol. The client then tested positive for marijuana and missed a drug test. It was a realistic possibility that our client would be sent to jail for a lengthy period of time and have a felony record. Shyler Engel investigated the supposed missed test and marijuana test. Having an understanding of metabolite elimination rates, detection windows, and the studies to back our arguments up, we convinced the judge that the testing facility had made a mistake. While our client was sentenced to a lengthy term of probation, he left that court room with the opportunity to maintain a felony-free record without serving any jail time.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC client was recently raided by a local drug task force. A large marijuana grow was discovered in the industrial park location with far too many plants to easily qualify for medical marijuana protections. Also discovered by the police were prescription drugs that the client simply had no legal right to possess. The client is a habitual offender and was charged with enhanced felonies and faced up to eight years in prison. Realistically the client’s sentencing guidelines indicated that he would likely be sentenced to jail for at least 6 months, and maybe even get prison time. However, arguable search and seizure issues became apparent during the course of this firm’s investigation of the incident. Making the prosecutor aware of these issues, Shyler Engel was able to secure a plea to only misdemeanors. Then, with a generous sentencing recommendation from the prosecutor, our client was sentenced to only non-testing, non-reporting probation for one year, and fines and costs. To this client, this was a stellar consequence-free result.
A Shyler Engel, PLLC medical marijuana client was found to be significantly over his plant count and in possession of edibles and many jars and tubes of cannabis oil. Making matters worse, the client was in possession of scales and other tools and items used for processing and distributing larger quantities of marijuana. He was charged with felony manufacture charges and a two year felony maintaining a drug house charge. Although he was arguably without protection under Section 4 of the MMMA, Shyler Engel asserted his client’s right to an affirmative defense for medical use, and the prosecutor eventually agreed to the lowest severity marijuana plea available in Michigan. Next, Shyler Engel worked on the judge to get his client the best terms of probation and testing possible. Explaining to the judge that by virtue of his status as a patient, the client would be permitted to use marijuana while on probation, the judge decided it would be best to simply give the client a sentence of fines and costs of $175. No felonies. No jail. No probation. No testing.