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155239 - People v Jonathan David Hewitt-El

The People of the State of Michigan,
Margaret Gillis Ayalp
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Wayne – Morrow, B.)
Jonathan David Hewitt-El, a/k/a Jonathan David Hewitt,
Chari K. Grove


Defendant Jonathan David Hewitt-El was convicted of armed robbery, assault, and weapons offenses in 2010. On direct appeal, defendant argued that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to investigate and present evidence of an alibi and by allowing the prosecution to impeach his testimony with his prior convictions. The Court of Appeals rejected these claims and affirmed defendant’s convictions. In 2011, the Supreme Court denied defendant’s application for leave to appeal. In 2012, defendant filed a motion for relief from judgment under MCR Subchapter 6.500, arguing that insufficient evidence was presented at trial to sustain his armed robbery conviction and that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate, develop, and present an alibi defense. The trial court denied the sufficiency of the evidence claim but ordered an evidentiary hearing on the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Following the hearing, the trial court found that both trial and appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance, and ordered a new trial for defendant. The prosecution appealed. The Court of Appeals peremptorily vacated the trial court’s ruling on the basis that the trial court had not applied the standards for ruling on a motion for relief from judgment under MCR 6.508. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address whether: (1) defendant’s alleged grounds for relief were decided against him on direct appeal, MCR 6.508(D)(2); (2) the Court of Appeals failed to defer to the circuit court’s credibility determinations; and (3) defendant has established entitlement to relief under MCR 6.508(D).