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159371, 159373 - People v Gerald Magnant; People v John Davis

People of the State of Michigan,

 

Scott Shimkus

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Ingham – Alderson, L.)

 

Gerald Magnant,

 

Salem Samaan

 

Defendant-Appellant,

 


 

 

_____________________________

 

 

 

 

 

People of the State of Michigan,

 

Scott Shimkus

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

 

 

 

John Francis Davis,

 

Walter Piszczatowski

 

Defendant-Appellant,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary

The defendants are nonsupervisory employees of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).  Police stopped them as they drove a KBIC-owned truck pulling a utility trailer from the tribe’s reservation in Baraga to the tribe’s gas station in Marquette.  Inside the trailer were 56 boxes of cigarettes.  The prosecution charged the defendants with violating MCL 205.428(3), which provides that “[a] person who possesses, acquires, transports, or offers for sale contrary to this act 3,000 or more cigarettes” is guilty of a five-year felony.  The prosecution alleges that the defendants acted “contrary to this act” by transporting cigarettes without the transporter’s license required by MCL 205.423(1).  The district court bound the defendants over for trial, reasoning that the prosecution must prove that the defendants knew they were transporting cigarettes, but need not prove that they knew they were doing so “contrary to this act[.]”  The circuit court upheld the district court’s ruling and denied the defendants’ joint motion to quash.  The circuit court also denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss based on their claim that the Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA) failed to provide sufficient notice that they were required to obtain a transporter’s license.  The Court of Appeals affirmed in a 2-1 unpublished opinion.  The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the application to address:  (1) whether MCL 205.428(3) requires proof that the defendants knew they were transporting cigarettes in a manner “contrary to” the TPTA, MCL 205.421 et seq., see generally Rehaif v United States, 588 US ___; 139 S Ct 2191 (2019); Rambin v Allstate Ins Co, 495 Mich 316, 327-328 (2014); (2) whether nonsupervisory employees fall within the definition of “transporter” under MCL 205.422(y); and (3) if so, whether the TPTA’s definition of “transporter” satisfies due process by putting the defendants on fair notice of the conduct that would subject them to punishment, see People v Hall, 499 Mich 446, 461 (2016).​