Guilty then not guilty!

Originally Posted on: Sept. 26 2009,8:52 by William Maze

In a trial that lasted several days in Inkster, my client BV was found guilty of the lesser included offense of impaired driving. This was a horrible result because Mr. V maintains Canadian citizenship and has a very important job here in Michigan. The ramification of a conviction for a Canadian citizen can be extremely serious even though a drunk driving conviction carries few immigration consquences. US citizens with DUIs cannot freely travel to Canada, and Canadian citizens with DUIs cannot freely travel to the US. It’s a messed up system, and Michigan and Ontario maintain a treaty that requires sharing driver’s license information. (Treaties by a state and a foreign nation are prohibited by the US Constitution, but there is a well-known DUI exception to the US Constitution.)

After the verdict was read, the District Court Judge asked if I wanted to “poll” the jury. Polling the jury requires every person on the jury to state their verdict in open court. It is a formality, but it’s something I would never waive on a guilty verdict. As the Court asked each juror, “Was that and is that your verdict?” a juror paused. A moment later, the juror indicated that her verdict was not impaired!

The Court ordered the jury to deliberate further. About an hour later, the jury announced its new verdict: NOT GUILTY!