Court of Appeals Says First Offender MIPs Cannot Be Given Probation

For reasons that escape me, district judges around the State of Michigan have decided to declare World War III on minors in possession of alcohol. Even though most of the violators are young adults in that district, who are often honors students, and are college bound (or in college), many district judges have felt duty bound to stretch the punishments for minors in possession beyond those required by law. For first offenders, many courts have attempted to go beyond what is the statutory maximum by nominally sentencing the defendant to probation but then saddling the defendant with a series of probation conditions that are rather onerous in nature.

In
People v John Williams, Court of Appeals No. 293553, the Court of Appeals ruled that probation could not be imposed on first offenders. While the ruling is unpublished and therefore not binding on other courts, it is likely to be followed. The ruling had two law and order judges on the panel and one moderate. The opinion is likely to command the respect of other judges. My friend Lisa Kirsch Satawa has a nice article on this case which people may wish to consult for more information.