Circuit Court LC No. 15-020096-FH
Before: Ronayne Krause, P.J., and O'Connell and Meter,
Anthony Mark Rice, pleaded guilty as a fourth-offense
habitual offender, MCL 769.12, to operating or maintaining a
methamphetamine laboratory, MCL 333.7401c(2)(f), and
operating or maintaining a methamphetamine laboratory near a
specified location, MCL 333.7401c(2)(d). The trial court
sentenced Rice below the sentencing guidelines to serve
concurrent terms of 48 months' to 35 years'
imprisonment. The prosecution appeals Rice's sentence by
leave granted. We affirm.
to a Cobbs agreement, Rice admitted that he bought
chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine in an apartment
building. The trial court indicated that it would sentence
Rice to the bottom of his recommended sentencing guidelines
range. Between Rice's plea and sentencing hearing, the
Michigan Supreme Court issued its decision in People v
Lockridge, 498 Mich. 358; 870 N.W.2d 502 (2015).
sentencing guidelines recommended a range of 72 to 240
months' imprisonment, and the assessment did not involve
any judicial fact-finding. At his sentencing hearing, Rice
presented evidence that he had been a model prisoner who
worked in prison, participated in drug and alcohol
rehabilitation, and did not receive misconduct tickets. The
trial court decided to depart downward from the sentencing
guidelines. It acknowledged Rice's prior record and the
nature of the crime for which he was sentenced, but it found
that Rice's convictions primarily involved
"poisoning" himself and that giving Rice the
"benefit of the doubt" would help him make a
positive change in his life.
prosecution argued that the trial court was mandated to apply
the sentencing guidelines because Rice's case did not
involve constitutionally impermissible judicial fact-finding
and, therefore, Lockridge did not apply. The trial
court determined that the Lockridge Court used broad
language that rendered the sentencing guidelines advisory
under all circumstances, and thus that it could treat the
guidelines as advisory in Rice's case. The prosecution
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court reviews de novo issues of statutory interpretation.
People v Williams, 475 Mich. 245, 250; 716 N.W.2d
208 (2006). We also review de novo questions of
constitutional law. Lockridge, 498 Mich. at 373.
prosecution argues that the Michigan Supreme Court's
decision in Lockridge only renders the Legislative
sentencing guidelines advisory in cases in which the
defendant's sentence involved judicial fact-finding.
Because the Lockridge Court did not limit its
language in such a fashion, we disagree. We conclude that the
Lockridge Court rewrote MCL 769.34(2) and (3)
without exception, rendering the guidelines advisory in all
Lockridge Court framed the issue as "whether
the Michigan sentencing guidelines violate a defendant's
Sixth Amendment fundamental right to a jury trial."
Lockridge, 498 Mich. at 364. In answering this
question affirmatively, the Court concluded that
the rule from Apprendi v New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466;
120 S.Ct. 2348; 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), as extended by
Alleyne v United States, 570 U.S.; 133 S.Ct. 2151;
186 L.Ed.2d 314 (2013), applies to Michigan's sentencing