Guidelines, Intermediate Sanction, Prison or Jail

Criminal Law Update

People v Muttscheler, 481 Mich 372; 750 NW2d 159 (2008)(june'08).Defendant pled guilty under an agreement that he would be sentenced within the guidelines on his attempted possession of a weapon by a prisoner charge.The Baraga County Circuit Court denied a motion to withdraw the plea. The court of appeals reversed and remanded for resentencing, noting that the guidelines scored out to an intermediate sanction cell (5-17 months) and it was thus improper to sentence Defendant to a prison term of 12-30 months without departing from the guidelines, something the trial court could not do without offering Defendant an opportunity to withdraw his plea. The supreme court unanimously agreed, and interpreted the intermediate sanction sentencing statute, MCL 769.34(4)(a).The court ruled that absent a departure supported by substantial and compelling reasons, a trial court may not impose an indeterminate prison sentence on a defendant for whom the sentencing guidelines require an intermediate sanction because an "intermediate sanction does not include a prison sentence."