Michigan Witness-Retaliation-by-Threats Law Requires Intent to Threaten Physical Injury (or Crime)
From People v. Johnson, decided last week by the Michigan Court of Appeals (written by Presiding Judge Jane Markey and joined by Judge Douglas Shapiro):
In March 2018, defendant was convicted by a jury of resisting or obstructing a police officer, MCL 750.81d(1), and allowing a dog to stray off-leash. This Court affirmed the convictions, which arose out of an incident involving defendant’s dog and an altercation between defendant and a police officer who had responded to reports of a dog at large. At that earlier trial, several witnesses testified about the events that resulted in defendant’s convictions.
One of those witnesses was then-14-year-old BP. BP testified that he encountered a three-legged white pit bull—the dog at issue—as BP walked to a clinic for a physical therapy appointment. BP further testified that the dog was barking, that the dog chased him, that BP was afraid that the dog was going to bite him, and that someone then called the dog back and BP was able to safely enter the clinic. The jury viewed a video of BP’s encounter with the dog.
Defendant attempted to impeach BP’s trial testimony with the video footage and a written statement that BP had provided to the police. Defendant’s effort at impeachment primarily concerned whether BP was running or walking during portions of the episode. We note that any purported discrepancies in BP’s account of events had no real bearing on whether defendant’s dog was straying off-leash or on whether defendant resisted or obstructed the responding police officer. In May 2018, defendant was sentenced to 12 months in jail for the resisting-or-obstructing conviction and three months in jail for the stray-dog conviction.
With respect to the instant charge and conviction, on May 29, 2019, at 10:03 a.m., defendant, no longer incarcerated, sent a messa
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