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159516 - People v Treshaun Lee Terrance

The People of the State of Michigan,

 

David McCreedy

 

Plaintiff-Appellant,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Wayne – Cox, K.)

 

Treshaun Lee Terrance,

 

Angeles Meneses

 

Defendant-Appellee.

 

Summary

In 2015, the 17-year-old defendant’s live-in girlfriend, Dalona Tillman, died by suffocation after a severe beating. Defendant told police that the victim returned home from a trip to the grocery store badly beaten and that he called 911. The cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation, but the victim also had extensive “fresh” bodily injuries. Defendant was charged with first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree felony murder, with the predicate felony being torture, which was not separately charged. At trial, the jury was instructed on second-degree murder as a lesser included offense for both charges. After two days of deliberation, the jury acquitted defendant of first-degree murder and the lesser offense of second-degree murder. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the felony-murder charge and the trial court declared a mistrial. The prosecutor again charged defendant with felony murder, and defendant pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. However, after appointment of appellate counsel, defendant filed a motion to withdraw his plea, vacate his conviction, and dismiss the charge against him on double jeopardy grounds. The prosecutor conceded that defendant was entitled to this relief under Yeager v United States, 557 US 110 (2009), but argued that Yeager was wrongly decided. The Court of Appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion and the Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied certiorari. The prosecutor then charged defendant with torture, and defendant again moved to dismiss, arguing that the charge constituted a violation of double jeopardy and a vindictive prosecution. The trial court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss. In a split unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals majority agreed with defendant that the torture charge was barred by the issue preclusion aspect of double jeopardy; it found no prosecutorial vindictiveness, however. The dissent would have affirmed, opining that, by acquitting defendant of first- and second-degree murder, the first jury had not necessarily determined that defendant did not commit any acts of violence against the victim. The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the prosecutor’s application for leave to appeal to address whether the Court of Appeals erred when it concluded that the jury in the defendant’s first trial, when it acquitted him of first- and second-degree murder, necessarily decided an issue of ultimate fact such that the issue-preclusion aspect of the Double Jeopardy Clause bars prosecution for the crime of torture arising out of the same criminal incident. The Supreme Court has denied defendant’s application for leave to appeal as cross-appellant on the issue of prosecutorial vindictiveness. ​