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150677 - Brandon Michael Hall

The People of the State of Michigan,
Richard L. Cunningham
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Ottawa – VanAllsburg, J.)
Brandon Michael Hall,
Donald H. Hann


Defendant Brandon Michael Hall admitted that he put false names and signatures on nominating petitions being submitted on behalf of a judicial candidate.  He was charged with 10 counts of felony election law forgery under MCL 168.937. Hall objected that he could not be charged under the general forgery statute, MCL 168.937, because there was a more specific statute, MCL 168.544c, that addressed “acts of falsifying electoral nominating petitions.”  The district court agreed, and denied the prosecutor’s motion to bind over Hall for trial on the 10 felony counts.  The district court ruled that there was probable cause to bind over Hall for trial on 10 misdemeanor violations of MCL 168.544c.  Both the circuit court and the Court of Appeals, in an unpublished opinion, affirmed the district court’s ruling.  In the Supreme Court, the parties have been directed to address:  (1) whether Hall’s conduct may only be charged under 168.544c; (2) whether the “rule of lenity” applies; and (3) whether charging Hall with felony forgery under MCL 168.937 would violate his due process rights.