e-Journal Summary

e-Journal Number : 46024
Opinion Date : 06/08/2010
e-Journal Date : 06/17/2010
Court : Michigan Court of Appeals
Case Name : Cohen v. Nerenberg
Practice Area(s) : Criminal Law, Personal Protection Orders
Judge(s) : Per Curiam - K.F. Kelly, Wilder, and Gleicher
Full Text Opinion

Criminal contempt based on continued violations of PPOs; Whether the defendant was deprived of his constitutional right to a trial by jury; Mich. Const. 1963, art. 1, ยง 20; People v. Antkoviak; Cross Co. v. UAW Local No. 155; US Const., Ams. VI & XIV; Bloom v. Illinois


Where both of defendant's convictions were for criminal contempt and the sentences imposed were less than six months, neither the US Constitution nor the Michigan Constitution guaranteed him a right to a jury trial. Thus, the court rejected his claim he was deprived of his constitutional right to a trial by jury and affirmed his convictions, which arose from his continual harassment of two unrelated individuals. In Docket No. 290569, he began stalking and harassing the victim in 1995. The victim obtained a PPO against defendant, which was set to expire in September 2005. Defendant did not abide by the terms of the PPO and was twice convicted of criminal contempt for violating the PPO. He received 10 days in jail and no sentence for those convictions, respectively. However, as of 2004, he continued to violate the PPO. In Docket No. 290570, another PPO was issued against defendant, which prohibited him from stalking and harassing an employee of his prior employer. He also violated this order. In April 2004, he was convicted of criminal contempt in both cases and sentenced to 93 days in jail for each conviction. The Michigan Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial for both petty and serious violations of criminal statutes, but does not extend this guarantee to criminal contempt proceedings. The Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution only guarantees a jury trial for criminal contempt proceedings if the actual punishment imposed is more than six months. The court stated if the right to a jury trial is to be extended to petty criminal contempt cases, it was for the US Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court, or the Michigan Legislature to do so. Affirmed.

Full Text Opinion