A child's birthday party becomes a criminal law case

The opioid crisis continues to plague Michigan and our nation and is permeating small, quiet communities everywhere. One of those communities is Utica, a small city north of Detroit. A child's birthday party was disrupted and went from a peaceful family gathering to a nightmare. It left a young man in need of someone experienced in handling serious criminal law cases.

The child's grandfather observed a young man using drugs and asked him to refrain from the activity as the children at the birthday party could see him. The young man reportedly took out a knife and repeatedly stabbed the elderly gentleman in the neck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The alleged crime is horrific and the community of Utica is a historically peaceful one. This is the first reported homicide in 10 years. People walk their dogs in the park and children frequently play there. The incident is still under investigation and the accused is being held without bond. The man has denied having a substance abuse problem.

Anyone in Michigan charged with a crime is presumed innocent until -- and only if -- proven guilty. A person facing charges is entitled to a criminal defense, a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. It remains to be seen what the actual charges may be, but even second degree murder comes with the possibility of life imprisonment upon conviction in this state. There are a number of potential issues for defense counsel to address in this tragic criminal law proceeding, including any potentially extenuating circumstances resulting from possible drug use or possible mental health issues.

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