Michael Horowitz wins felony dismissal.
Michael Horowitz recently secured the dismissal of felony charges for a client in Missaukee County. The government charged our client with numerous crimes in connection with a rent-to-own attempt gone wrong, including squatting and malicious destruction of property.
But after they put in weeks or months of labor and many thousands of dollars of materials, the deal fell apart. Turns out the owner thought she could get more money for the property. The owner brought some sort of civil suit against our client and her husband, but when that didn’t go the way she hoped, she got the prosecution involved. The criminal theory was that our client and her husband were somehow responsible for the decades of neglect and abandonment — i.e., the looted copper wires, ruined drywall, removed pump, and destroyed appliances and cabinetry.
After reviewing the charges and evidence, Attorney Horowitz strongly believed that these charges were plainly unjust. If anything, our client and her husband were the victims. Attorney Horowitz vehemently challenged the charges at a preliminary examination, but the district court bound over the charges to the circuit court. However, Attorney Horowitz filed a motion to quash the bindover in the circuit court, which the circuit court granted.
On remand to the district court, the prosecution initially tried to hold a second preliminary hearing to seek another bindover. After some argument, the district court ordered briefing on what Attorney Horowitz perceived to be the incurable problem with the prosecution’s case. Shortly after the briefing deadline passed, the prosecution wisely dismissed the charges.
Fortunately, our client and her husband had strong legal advocacy and avoided life-changing criminal charges. Imagine them being branded felons for the rest of their lives for this. They were trying to rehab an abandoned blighted eyesore of a property with hard work and patience. This seems like the sort of thing the government should want to encourage.