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155849 - People v Shawn Loveto Cameron, Jr.

The People of the State of Michigan,

 

Brian L. Mackie

Brenda L. Taylor

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Washtenaw – O’Brien, D.)

 

Shawn Loveto Cameron. Jr.,

 

Marilena David-Martin

 

Defendant-Appellant.

 

Summary

In December 2013, a jury convicted defendant of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. In January 2014, the trial court sentenced defendant as a habitual offender to serve a prison term and to pay $1,611 in court costs, pursuant to MCL 769.1k(1)(b). In June 2014, the Supreme Court decided People v Cunningham, 496 Mich 145, 147 (2014), holding that “MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(ii) provides courts with the authority to impose only those costs that the Legislature has separately authorized by statute.” However, in October 2014, the Legislature amended MCL 769.1k(1)(b) to retroactively authorize the imposition of costs that are “reasonably related” to various court-related expenses. On appeal, defendant challenged the constitutionality of the retroactive amendment of MCL 769.1k(1)(b). The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the statute is constitutional, but remanding the case to the trial court for a determination of whether a factual basis existed for the amount of costs imposed. On remand, the trial court upheld the $1,611 in costs and provided a detailed explanation for the amount. Defendant appealed again. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that court costs are a tax and that MCL 769.1k(1)(b), as amended, does not violate Michigan’s constitution. The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address: (1) whether court costs under MCL 769.1k(1)(b) should be classified as a tax, a fee, or some other category of charge; and (2) if court costs are a tax, whether the statute violates the Separation of Powers Clause, Const 1963, art 3, § 2, or the Distinct-Statement Clause, Const 1963, art 4, § 32. ​