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149040 - People v Smart (Mantrease)

The People of the State of Michigan,
Vikki Bayeh Haley
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Genesee – Yuille, R.)
Mantrease Datrell Smart,
David D. Bremer


Defendant Mantrease Datrell Smart was charged with multiple crimes in connection with the robbery and shooting death of Megan Kreuzer on May 31, 2010. Smart supplied a gun to two other men who planned the robbery. Smart also witnessed the robbery, during which one of the other men shot and killed Kreuzer.
Before trial, Smart asked the trial court to suppress statements that he had made about the Kreuzer murder during two meetings with police. The meetings concerned an unrelated carjacking incident, but Smart offered information about the Kreuzer murder in an effort to obtain a favorable plea deal. At the first meeting, the police officer agreed that the information Smart provided would not be used against him; no such promise was made at the second meeting. The trial court conducted an evidentiary hearing and then ruled that both statements were inadmissible. The prosecution appealed suppression of the statement made at the second meeting.
In a split published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court and ruled that Smart’s second statement was inadmissible under Michigan Rule of Evidence (MRE) 410(4), which excludes from evidence statements made by a defendant “in the course of plea discussions with an attorney for the prosecuting authority which do not result in a plea of guilty . . . .” 
The prosecution appeals. In an order dated September 17, 2014, the Supreme Court granted the application for leave to appeal. The Court directed the parties to address whether Smart’s statement to the police should be suppressed under MRE 410. In briefing this issue, the parties were directed to address whether, pursuant to MRE 410, “plea discussions” must directly involve a prosecuting attorney or whether a prosecuting attorney’s agent may act on behalf of the prosecuting authority and, if so, under what circumstances the agent’s discussions constitute “plea discussions.” The parties were also directed to address whether the Supreme Court’s analysis for determining if a statement was made “in connection with” a plea offer, established in People v Dunn, should continue to guide the application of MRE 410, and if not, what test should be applied in its stead.