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159709 - People v Christopher Louis Sindone

The People of the State of Michigan,


Mary Cretu





(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)



(Wayne – Ramsey, K.)


Christopher Louis Sindone,


Kristina Dunne





Following a bench trial, the trial court found the defendant guilty of second-degree arson, MCL 750.73, and preparation to burn a dwelling, MCL 750.79(1)(d)(vi), for setting fire to his estranged wife’s mobile home.  The trial court sentenced defendant as a third-offense habitual offender to 12 to 40 years in prison for second-degree arson and 5 to 10 years in prison for preparation to burn, with the two sentences running concurrently.  The Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 unpublished opinion, affirmed the defendant’s convictions but vacated his sentences and remanded for resentencing due to errors in the scoring of the guidelines minimum sentence range.  Court of Appeals Judge Shapiro concurred in part and dissented in part, explaining that he would have vacated the defendant’s conviction for preparation to burn a dwelling on double jeopardy grounds.  The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the application to address whether the defendant’s convictions under MCL 750.73 and MCL 750.79(1)(d)(vi) violate double jeopardy.  The parties were specifically directed to address:  (1) whether the Legislature expressed a clear intent to allow or disallow dual convictions for both crimes based on the same conduct, and (2) if not, whether the same-elements test requires vacating the lesser conviction.  See People v Miller, 498 Mich 13, 19 (2015).​