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Court To Judge: Seriously, You Can’t Do That

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Judges can’t punish defendants who choose to go to trial. That’s the opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Capital correspondent Cheyna Roth reports.

Judge Qiana Lillard from Wayne County had been admonished by the Court of Appeals in the past for her practice of sentencing defendants who go to trial at the top of their sentence range. But that time it wasn’t binding.

Now, in another old case of hers, the court has made its position clear – a defendant has a right to an individualized sentence.

In the past, Judge Lillard said her practice didn’t punish defendants for going to trial – rather it rewarded them for pleading guilty.

The court wasn’t buying it.

It said the practice violates the defendant’s due process rights.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County.
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