UPDATE: COA panel, headed by Michael Talbot, one of the most racist, backward judges on the bench, has denied the prosecution’s appeal of Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway’s dismissal of involuntary manslaughter charges against Aiyana Jones’ killer, Joseph Weekley.
The court said, “The trial court orally granted defendant’s motion for directed verdict and entered a written order to that effect. Because [this] took place before any appellate review was able to occur, the Court is barred from reviewing the trial court’s decision.”
The appeals court order was posted in George Hunter’s article in the Detroit News before it was even up on the court website, indicating that he got it from his usual source, defense attorney Steve Fishman. The decision is at Weekley final COA order.
Supporters of Aiyana Jones and her family are calling for all to come out to Ferguson, MO this weekend, Oct. 10-13 for a national protest against police killings and the disregard for Black lives in this country, called by the Organization for Black Struggle. See post below at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/06/ferguson-weekend-of-resistance-justice-for-mike-brown-oct-10-13-2014/ for all details.
VOD published stories months ago that a scenario where Weekley would plead guilty to the high misdemeanor charge of reckless use of a firearm resulting in death, and get probation, was being planned. See http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/04/18/dad-of-aiyana-jones-7-killed-by-detroit-police-sentenced-to-40-60-years-in-blake-killing. AND
By Diane Bukowski
October 6, 2014
A state Court of Appeals panel is currently reviewing the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office appeal of Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway’s order dismissing an involuntary manslaughter charge against Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley in the death of Aiyana Jones, 7, on May 16, 2010. (Links to appeals documents are at bottom of story.)
The panel is headed by Appeals Judge Michael Talbot and includes Kurtis T. Wilder and Kirsten Frank Kelley.
In their appeal, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Chief of Research on Appeals and Training Timothy Baughman, and Asst. Prosecuting Attorney Thomas Chambers argue that the case should go to the jury as presented. They say that Judge Hathaway’s ruling was a “legal error” contrary to her actual finding in the case, and cite a 1995 Michigan Supreme Court opinion defining involuntary manslaughter.
Hathaway said as part of her ruling that “the trier of fact can decide if the Defendantfailed to use the ordinary care to avoid injuring another when to a reasonable person it must have been apparent that the result was likely to be serious injury.”
The prosecutor then cites People v. Datema, where the high court ruled that the crime of involuntary manslaughter can be committed EITHER with the intent to injure OR in a grossly negligent manner.
“In the latter instance,” it says, criminal liability is imposed because, although the defendants’ acts are not inherently wrong, the defendant has acted or failed to act with awareness of the risk to safety and in willful disregard of the safety of others.”
According to the transcript of the Oct. 3 arguments, Asst. Prosecutor Robert Moran said, “He [Weekley] knew what the standard was, he knew what ordinary care was required because they go in there with all this powerful equipment, an MP5 submachine gun, a ballistic shield, vest, whatever the case may be, they’re trained how to use it, they’re trained the proper way to use it. He could have avoided injury if he had followed his training, he didn’t. As a result of not following his training and not following the mandates of ordinary care, someone was killed.”
Numerous Special Response Team members testifed earlier that they are repeatedly trained to keep their index finger on the slide of the gun, off the trigger, even if involved in a confrontation. One officer said the training results in automatic “muscle response.”
A weapons expert said Weekley’s gun could not be fired accidentally, only by exerting eight to nine pounds of pressure on the trigger.
Defense Attorney Steve Fishman cited only the U.S. Supreme Court case, People V. Evans, which Detroit News reporter George Hunter included in his Oct. 3 story, without acknowledging that Fishman was his source for finding the case.
In that case, Fishman said, “The United States Supreme Court has clearly stated that the trial judge’s ruling cannot be appealed and that retrial on that count is prohibited by the Double Jeopary clause of the United States Constitution. Therefore, the prosecution’s emergency application for leave to appeal should be denied.”
The Evans case is more fully discussed in VOD’s previous article at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/05/national-outrage-over-possible-dismissal-of-charge-vs-detroit-cop-who-killed-aiyana-jones-7/.
However the Appeals Court rules, courts have proven throughout this country that justice for people of color in particular is rarely rendered, as in the acquittal of George Zimmerman for killing Travyon Martin, and Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper’s refusal to prosecute Northland Mall security officers who killed McKenzie Cochran, 25, as he cried out, “I can’t breathe” and “I’m dying” while they held him down.
Many hope that actions like the protests in Ferguson, including the one planned for this weekend, cited below in VOD’s post at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/10/06/ferguson-weekend-of-resistance-justice-for-mike-brown-oct-10-13-2014/, will eventually provide justice.
Prosecution appeals brief at weekley_app
Defense answer brief at weekley_ansr
Transcript of Oct. 3 arguments at weekley_tr