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Criminal Law
Wayne State University Law School
Findlater, Janet

Ø “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt” this means that every fact necessary to establish the crime is proven by fact.
® Owens v. State pg. 14
· This case is at Appellate level so the level of proof is whether or not the decision made was against the greater weight of the evidence.
· Felony is punishment greater than a year
· Misdemeanor is generally less.
· The Owens Δ was found to be innocent after review of the facts.
Ø Hierarchy of proof:
® Beyond a reasonable doubt (highest)
® Clear and convincing
® Preponderance of the evidence
® Probable cause (lowest)
Ø Felony procedure:
® Report of crime
® Investigation by police or other arresting body
® Arrest or if innocent set free
® Arraigned
® PH(preliminary hearing)/PE (mini trial with evidence)
· Usually waived since defendants rarely winà Held over
® Prosecutor prepares information or indictment (these are the charging documents)
® Arraigned on indictment
® Pretrial motions by Δ, typically to suppress evidence
® Guilty plea ~ 95% of cases where the Δ is found guilty
® Trial by jury
· Possible incarceration of six months or more entitles Δ to a jury trial
® Sentencing
· Determinant – fixed sentence
· Indeterminate – variable sentence
® Appeal
· Right to appeal in Michigan
· Right to highest court (supreme) by leave
® Nullification is a power of the jury and has its history in a distrust of centralized power
· When Jury finds someone innocent, even though the law or the facts may actually show he was innocent
· Not in the jury instructions, because jury is not supposed to know about it
Ø Chapter 3
® Principle of Legality – “Fair Notice” The conduct proscribed must be previously defined
· Savings Clause – Michigan’s common law is called the Saving’s Clause MCL 750.505
▪ If a crime was illegal a common law prior to codification of Michigan Penal Code, state can

at must be present to constitute the crime.
® Conduct
· Voluntary Act
▪ MPC 2.01(2) – Voluntary Act – MPC defines “voluntary” in terms of things that are “not voluntary”. They include: reflex, movement while unconscious, while under hypnosis, not the effort of the actor, heart attack, seizures, convulsions and asleep (sleep walking).
▪ MPC “Act” = bodily movement, either voluntary or involuntary (i.e. a Siezure would still be an “act” even though the bodily movements are involuntary”.
o Possession (of narcotics, not the devil) is an “act” MPC 2.01(4)
– Possession is almost always construed to include only “conscious” possession in this way it becomes “voluntary possession”.
Must have time to get rid off it for it to be considered “possession”