Earlier this month, a Michigan appellate court issued an opinion upholding a woman’s 25-year sentence of incarceration for a second-degree murder conviction based on the death of her daughter in a DUI accident. According to one news source reporting on the court’s opinion, the appellate panel consisted of three judges, two of whom voted to affirm the sentence, while the third felt that a lesser sentence would be warranted. The single dissenting judge asked a higher court to take the case and help clarify under which circumstances a defendant can be convicted and sentenced on a second-degree murder charge for a DUI-related death.
Back in September 2013, the defendant’s four-year-old daughter died after her mother was involved in an accident. Evidently, the accident occurred when the 27-year-old mother collided with another vehicle when attempting to enter a highway from a highway off-ramp. After the collision, the vehicle rolled, and the four-year-old was ejected from the vehicle. It was later determined that the mother was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
At trial, the court determined that the woman possessed the requisite level of “malice” or intent to support a second-degree murder conviction. After the trial, the woman was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Not satisfied with the result of the trial, she appealed to the appellate court, seeking relief.