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e-Journal Summary
Opinion Date: 11/29/2011
e-Journal Date: 12/22/2011
Full Text Opinion

Practice Area(s):   Criminal Law

Issues: Motion for a new trial; People v. Blackston; People v. Lester; Whether the failure to disclose the victim's counseling records during trial denied the defendant his due process right to a fair trial; People v. Stanaway; The procedure used to determine whether evidence is "material"; People v. Fink; Kyles v. Whitley; Credibility issues for the jury; People v. Milstead
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: People v. Tomasik
e-Journal Number: 50273
Judge(s): Per Curiam – K.F. Kelly, Hoekstra, and Whitbeck

After remand by the Michigan Supreme Court to the trial court for further proceedings pursuant to Stanaway, the court concluded that the failure to disclose the victim's (T) counseling records during trial did not deny the defendant his due process right to a fair trial. Thus, the court affirmed his CSC I convictions. He argued that the reports disclosed to defense counsel pursuant to the Supreme Court's order indicated that T "lied consistently and to get out of trouble," and indicated T "believed his own lies and at times could not distinguish fantasy from reality." Defendant contended that "while some similar evidence was produced at trial, this previously undisclosed evidence would have put the case in such a different light that it is reasonably probable that the result would have been different." Thus, he asserted that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial on remand. The court noted that there were two records at issue, one a report and the other a form. The report indicated that T "lied consistently and relished doing so, was quick to blame adults when he got into trouble, and had difficulty with impulse control." It also indicated that T "appeared to believe some of his untruthful statements." The form indicated that T "was deceitful and had had difficulties telling the truth for some time." The court noted that it was undisputed the documents not initially disclosed to defendant were favorable to his case. The trial court denied his motion for a new trial because it determined that even if the documents had been disclosed to defendant during trial, they were not material since no reasonable probability existed that the result would have been different if they had been disclosed to him during trial. The court agreed. The trial evidence showed that T "was a troubled child who engaged in theft and deceit and had difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality." The court concluded that defendant's claim that the information in the documents was different in kind from the evidence produced at trial lacked merit. At trial, defense counsel pointed to evidence that T could not distinguish fantasy from reality, including reminding the jury that T admitted during his testimony that he thought Batman was real, that T lied, that T previously denied he was sexually abused, and he disclosed the abuse only after he was charged with theft. The court concluded that "the evidence presented in the documents was cumulative to the evidence presented during the trial." Thus, "defendant was not denied a fair trial in violation of his due process right to exculpatory evidence that is both favorable and material," and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial.

Full Text Opinion

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