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149917 - People v John Oliver Wooten

The People of the State of Michigan,
Timothy Baughman
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Wayne –Callahan, J.)
John Oliver Wooten,
Kristina Larson Dunne


Defendant John Oliver Wooten was charged in connection with an early-morning shooting at a strip club; one shooting victim died and another was seriously injured. At trial, the prosecution asked a police witness a question about Wooten’s failure to come forward after the shooting to explain his claim of self-defense. Defense counsel objected and moved for a mistrial. The trial court granted the motion without prejudice to Wooten being tried a second time. When he was retried, Wooten was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, and firearms charges. The Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion. It rejected Wooten’s claim that his retrial was barred by double jeopardy because the prosecution had intentionally goaded the defense into moving for a mistrial. The issues to be considered include:  (1) whether the prosecution is permitted, during its case-in-chief, to elicit testimony from a police witness regarding the defendant’s pre-arrest silence or failure to come forward to explain a claim of self-defense; (2) whether such evidence is admissible as substantive evidence of the defendant’s guilt, or as impeachment of the defendant’s anticipated defense theory; and (3) if such evidence is inadmissible, whether the trial court clearly erred in finding that the trial prosecutor did not intentionally goad the defense into moving for a mistrial, and whether the trial court erred in granting a mistrial, but allowing the defendant to be retried.