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152247 - People v Amdebirhan Abdere Alemu

The People of the State of Michigan,
James Benison
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Kent – Leiber, D.)
Amdebirhan Abdere Alemu,
Anne Yantus


Defendant Amdebirhan Alemu, a twenty-year-old college student, was caught with a small amount of marijuana.  He reached a plea bargain with the prosecutor.  Alemu agreed to plead guilty to possession of marijuana in exchange for dismissal of the original charge (possession with intent to deliver) and for the prosecution’s agreement to take “no position on” whether Alemu should receive a probationary term under MCL 333.7411.  Section 7411 permits a court to require certain offenders to complete a probationary period that, if completed successfully, will result in dismissal of the proceedings without an adjudication of guilt.  The trial court ultimately declined the request for diversion, sentencing Alemu to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court in a split unpublished per curiam opinion.  The majority concluded that the trial judge abused his discretion; it vacated Alemu’s conviction and remanded the case for resentencing, directing the trial court to reconsider the merits of Alemu’s section 7411 request.  The prosecutor appealed this ruling.  On November 25, 2015, the Supreme Court ordered oral argument on the application, asking the parties to address  (1) whether the agreement in the plea bargain that the prosecutor would take “no position on 7411” precludes the prosecutor from filing an application for leave to appeal; and (2) whether the prosecutor waived the right to seek relief in the Supreme Court by formally taking “no position” in the Court of Appeals.