If my friend went back to trial, would it be possible for him to get a lesser sentence than Life without parole?

Asked 9 months ago - Farmington, MI

My friend plead guilty to felony murder so he would not end up going to trial. He plead guilty so he wouldn't have to face trial and put his family through the stress. The evidence in the trial of his co-defendant showed that he did not kill the person he was accused of killing. But he was there and fled the house after a few minutes of being in there. He did hurt 2 people in that house, but they are still alive. He was under the influence of shrooms, "spice" and alcohol. He is now in prison with life without parole. I heard that his possible charge if he went back to trial would be Aiding and abetting. But I was wondering if it was worth him going back to trial to possibly get a lesser sentence.

Additional information

Just to add, the judge gave him 43 days to appeal his plea of guilty after his sentencing.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. John Douglas Lloyd

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your friend has absolutely nothing to lose. He should definitely continue his fight for justice.

    Disclaimer: No attorney client privilege is established by receiving an answer to your question on Avvo. This... more
  2. David B. Carter Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . YES! He already got the worse. Nothing can be too worse than what he got.

  3. Joshua Sachs

    Contributor Level 19

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You seem to think that he can go back and get a trial just by raising his hand. As a matter of fact, it is likely to extremely difficult and perhaps impossible. You might want to find out whether there is actually a difference under Michigan law between a principle and an accessory, in other words between the person who actually pulls the trigger and the person who, in the old common-law words, aids and abets. In many states the law recognizes no difference between the two. At any rate, the long and tough road for him begins by consulting an attorney familiar with criminal appellate and collateral remedies in Michigan.

  4. Daniel P. Hilf

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Aiding and abetting felony murder carries the same penalty as felony murder - life in prison without the possibility of parole. If he pled guilty it is unlikely that he will ever have the opportunity to change his mind and have a trial. Unless he receives a pardon (which is unlikely), or there is a change in the law (which is also unlikely), he will never leave prison. The fact that he was under the influence of shrooms, spice, or alcohol makes no difference if he intoxicated himself - a Defendant cannot assert the defense of diminished capacity in Michigan.

  5. Daniel Patrick Hanlon

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Does Michigan impose the death penalty in this type of case? If not, why would he plead and accept the worst possible punishment?

  6. Stephen F Wallace

    Contributor Level 18

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The charge would be felony murder more than likely. A new trial may not be possible at this stage.

  7. James S. Lawrence

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If a person aids and abets a crime, under Michigan law he is guilty of that same crime. If you aid and abet a murder, then you are guilty of the murder, and receive the same sentence. In the case of felony murder, the sentence is life without parole, and the judge has no authority to impose a lesser sentence. He can file a motion to overturn the plea, which is best filed within 6 months of sentence, but if it is within 42 days that can provide procedural advantages. If he wins such a motion, then he goes to trial on the original charges. If he gets convicted of felony murder at trial, whether as an aider and abettor or the actual killer, he gets a sentence of life without parole. If he gets convicted of a lower crime he would get a lower sentence. If he is found not guilty then he would go free. At a trial, the fact of voluntary use of drugs is not a legally recognized defense, however, a jury might find that because of the drug use the defendant did not intend a robbery or killing and convict of a lesser offense.

    Not many guilty plea convictions get overturned, but some of them do. Each case is decided on its own merits. If the court finds that the defendant was properly informed of his rights, and that he voluntarily waived them, it is far less likely that the motion would succeed. I and other qualified appeal attorneys would be willing to order transcripts, interview the defendant, etc., to help determine whether the defendant would have a reasonable chance of winning the motion. It is recommended to hire an attorney, however, if he and his friends cannot afford one, the court will appoint one for him if the request is received by the circuit court within 42 days of sentencing. A later request for appointed counsel might or might not be granted, in the discretion of the judge.

    Even if his chances of winning both the motion and the trial would be small, if he files no motion, his chances of winning are zero.

    Contact me at 248-395-2745 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed... more

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