Washtenaw Circuit Court. LC No. 14-000272-AR.
For PEOPLE OF MI, Plaintiff-Appellant: MARK KNEISEL, ANN ARBOR MI.
For JOSHUA MATTHEW PACE, Defendant-Appellee: JOHN A SHEA, ANN ARBOR MI.
Before: WILDER, P.J., and SERVITTO and STEPHENS, JJ.
[311 Mich.App. 2] Per Curiam.
In this interlocutory appeal, the prosecution appeals by leave granted an order entered by the Washtenaw Circuit Court denying plaintiff's application for leave to appeal a district court order which granted defendant's motion for a specific jury instruction. We reverse and remand.
The basic facts of this case are not in dispute. On June 5, 2013, as Michael John Bly used a pedestrian crosswalk to walk across Church Street in Ann Arbor, defendant made a left-hand turn onto Church Street and struck Bly with his vehicle. As a result of the collision, Bly suffered head trauma that left him permanently disabled. Defendant was charged under MCL 257.601d(2) with the misdemeanor offense of committing a moving violation causing serious impairment of a body function to another person.
Before trial, defendant moved the district court for a jury instruction requiring the prosecution to prove, as an element of the charged offense, that defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The prosecution argued, in contrast, that to prove the charge of [311 Mich.App. 3] committing a moving violation causing serious impairment of a body function, the applicable jury instruction, M Crim JI 15.19, required the prosecution to prove only that (1) defendant committed a moving violation, and (2) defendant's operation of the vehicle caused serious impairment of a body function to another person. According to the prosecution, M Crim JI 15.19 accurately stated the law and there was no requirement that the prosecution also prove that defendant was negligent in his actions. The district court granted defendant's motion, citing People v Tombs, 472 Mich. 446; 697 N.W.2d 494 (2005) and reasoning that the Legislature did not expressly indicate an intention to dispense with negligence as an element of the offense.
The Washtenaw Circuit Court denied the prosecution's application for leave to appeal the district court's order. We granted the prosecution's application for
leave to appeal the Washtenaw Circuit Court's denial of its application. In addition to the issue whether negligence is an element of the offense of committing a moving violation causing serious impairment of a body function, this Court directed the parties to address two issues: " (1) if negligence is not an element of committing a moving violation causing serious impairment of a body function, MCL 257.601d(2), then what, if any, mens rea is required for conviction of this offense; and (2) if no mens rea is required, is the statute constitutional?" People v Pace,
unpublished order of the Court of Appeals, entered October 7, 2014 (Docket No.
On appeal, the prosecution contends that MCL 257.601d encompasses a preexisting negligence component such that the district court's requirement of proof of negligence as a separate, distinct element was superfluous and contrary to legislative intent. Alternatively, [311 Mich.App. 4] the prosecution contends that the statute is a constitutional, strict liability offense. We ...