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Appellate Headlines

The Appellate Division of the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office handles local cases which are appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court. Although not as visible to the public as those cases that proceed to jury trial, the appellate cases are important in our overall effort to protect the public because a jury's verdict could be overturned years later by a panel of appellate judges.

The following Appellate Headline summaries were prepared to keep the public informed of the status of selected cases during the appeal process. Our staff has made every effort to fairly and accurately summarize the trial proceedings and results of the cases. However, since some cases may return to Court for hearing or possible trial, those facts that have not previously been released to the public are not included in the summary.

APPELLATE HEADLINES INDEX (2007)

The Appellate Headlines of the Third Quarter of 2007 include the following:

  • People v. Sonya John Moussaed
  • People v. Gary Allen Groesbeck
  • People v. M. C. Whitley
  • Jesse James Swansbrough
  • People v. Randy Lee Ray
moussaed

In People v. Sonya John Moussaed (Circuit Ct. No. 06-35337-FC, Court of Appeals No. 275730), the Defendant has appealed her conviction to the Court of Appeals. A Monroe County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant of First Degree Murder on November 17, 2006. The Defendant murdered her boyfriend’s one-year old daughter, while her boyfriend was working. She was sentenced to Life in Prison without chance of parole by Judge Joseph Costello. The Court of Appeals is currently reviewing the appeal.

In People v. Gary Allen Groesbeck (District Ct No. 05-07824-FY, Circuit Ct. No. 06-35205-AR, Court of Appeals No. 272091, Supreme Court No. 133590), the Supreme Court denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal. The Defendant was charged by the Prosecuting Attorney with committing Negligent Homicide. The District Court refused at the Preliminary Exam to bind over the defendant for trial in Circuit Court. The District Court stated that the Prosecuting Attorney had not proved probable cause that the Defendant committed the Negligent Homicide. The Prosecuting Attorney appealed that decision to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court overturned the District Court’s decision and bound the Defendant over to stand trial. The Defendant then filed an application for leave to appeal with Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal. The Defendant then filed an application for leave to appeal with Michigan Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal on September 21, 2007. The Defendant will now stand trial in the Circuit Court for Negligent Homicide.

Whitley

In People v. M. C. Whitley (Circuit Ct. No.04-34030-FC, Court of Appeals No. 265482, Supreme Court No Whitley. 133724), the Supreme Court denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal. The Defendant was charged by the Prosecuting Attorney with committing First Degree Murder. The Defendant murdered Francis Sharp on January 26, 1994. An eyewitness came forth in 2004 and the Prosecuting Attorney then charged the Defendant. A Monroe County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant of Second Degree Murder on July 22, 2005. The Defendant was sentenced to 40 to 65 years in prison by Judge Michael LaBeau. The Defendant then appealed the jury verdict to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict on February 27, 2007. The Defendant then filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal on September 24, 2007.

Swansbrough

SwansbroughIn People v. Jesse James Swansbrough (Circuit Ct. No. 03-32958-FC, Court of Appeals No. 271126), the Court of Appeals affirmed the Defendant’s conviction for Armed Robbery and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony. The Defendant robbed Tammy Leach on June 23, 2003. The Defendant forced himself into the victim’s home and then grabbed the victim by the hair and forced her on the floor. The Defendant stole $100, a cordless phone and some jewelry. A Monroe County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant of Armed Robbery and Felony Firearm on February 24, 2004. The Defendant was sentenced to 210 to 480 months in prison by Judge Joseph Costello. The Defendant then appealed the verdict to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s verdict on September 13, 2007.

Ray_2_

In People v. Randy Lee Ray (Circuit Ct. No. 05-34767-FC, Court of Appeals No. 268602, Supreme Court No. 133938), the Supreme Court denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal. The Defendant was charged by the Prosecuting Attorney with Armed Robbery. The Defendant robbed a Monroe Bank & Trust branch in Frenchtown on August 11, 2005. The Defendant approached a teller and presented a demand note that stated “All your money or I’ll shoot you”. The teller gave the Defendant the money from her drawer and he then fled from the bank.

A Monroe County Circuit Court jury convicted the Defendant of Armed Robbery on January 9, 2006. The Defendant was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison by Judge Joseph Costello. The Defendant then appealed the jury verdict to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict on March 27, 2007. The Defendant then filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court. The Supreme Court denied the Defendant’s application for leave to appeal on September 10, 2007.

The Appellate Division of the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office handles local cases which are appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme court. Although not as visible to the public as those cases that proceed to jury trail, the appellate cases are important to our overall effort to protect the public because a jury's verdict could be overturned years later by a panel of appellate judges.

The following Appellate Headline summaries were prepared to keep the public informed of the status of selected cases during the appeal process. Our staff has made every effort to fairly and accurately summarize the trial proceedings and results of the cases. However, since some cases may return to Court for hearing or possible trial, those facts that have not previously been released to the public are not included in the summary.