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156720 - People v Raymond Charles Pierson

The People of the State of Michigan,

 

Mark Kniesel

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Washtenaw – Kuhnke, C.)

 

Raymond Charles Pierson,

 

Timothy Doman

 

Defendant-Appellant.

 

Summary

In 2012, defendant was convicted by a jury of first-degree home invasion and other felonies. The Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion, and this Court denied defendant’s application for leave to appeal. In 2015, defendant filed a motion for relief from judgment, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals granted defendant’s application for leave to appeal limited to one issue: whether defendant was denied a fair trial because the trial judge had informed the jury that defendant’s statement to the arresting officer had been ruled admissible. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of defendant’s motion for relief from judgment, holding that the trial judge erred in commenting on the admissibility of defendant’s statement, but finding the error to be harmless. One judge dissented in part, disagreeing with the lead opinion’s conclusion that the trial judge’s comment was erroneous. Another judge concurred in result only with respect to the evidentiary issue. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address whether: (1) defendant was denied the right to a fair trial when the trial court informed the jury that his confession to police had already been reviewed by the court and had been held admissible, see People v Kincaid, 136 Mich App 209, 215-216 (1984); People v Gilbert, 55 Mich App 168, 172-173 (1974); and (2) to the extent that the trial court erred, whether that error was harmless, People v Corbett, 97 Mich App 438, 442 (1980); People v Mathis, 75 Mich App 320, 324 (1977). ​