Oakland Circuit Court LC No. 2017-264893-FH
Before: Shapiro, P.J., and Beckering and M. J. Kelly, JJ.
prosecution appeals by leave granted an amended judgment of
sentence entered by the trial court. For the reasons stated
below, we vacate the amended judgment of sentence.
on parole for an unarmed robbery conviction, defendant was
arrested for domestic violence. He pleaded no contest to
domestic violence, third offense, MCL 750.81(5), which is a
felony. On February 15, 2018, the trial court
sentenced defendant to a year in jail. At sentencing, the
court stated that the sentence was "consecutive to a
parole violation." The judgment of sentence also stated,
"Sentence consecutive to parole violation."
(Capitalization omitted). But the judgment of sentence
provided that defendant's sentence would begin on
February 15, 2018.
result of his parole violation, defendant returned to prison
to serve the remaining few months of his prior sentence for
unarmed robbery. He was discharged on August 17, 2018, and
transferred to Oakland County Jail.
October 17, 2018, defendant filed a motion to amend the
judgment of sentence or for issuance of a habeas corpus writ.
Defendant explained that the Oakland County Jail was
interpreting the judgment of sentence to mean that his
domestic-violence sentence began when he arrived at the jail
on August 17, not on February 15 as provided by the judgment
of sentence. Defendant requested that the trial court remove
the "consecutive to parole violation" language from
the judgment of sentence.
hearing oral argument, the trial court agreed with defendant
that his sentence for domestic violence should have begun to
run on the date of sentencing. Accordingly, it granted
defendant's motion and amended the judgment of sentence
to provide, "Sentence consecutive to parole violation.
Defendant shall begin to accrue time on the 365 day sentence
on February 15, 2018." (Capitalization omitted).
initial matter, the prosecutor argues that defendant's
motion to amend the judgment of sentence was untimely. The
prosecutor did not raise this issue before the trial court,
but contends on appeal that the issue has not been waived
because it pertains to the trial court's jurisdiction.
The prosecutor does not provide caselaw holding that a trial
court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to consider untimely
post-trial motions. However, even if we accept this premise
as true, we conclude that defendant's motion was not
prosecutor argues that defendant's motion should be
construed as motion to correct an invalid sentence, which
generally must be filed within six months of the entry of the
judgment of sentence. See MCR 6.429(B)(3)(a). We conclude,
however, that defendant's motion to amend the judgment of
sentence is better understood as motion to correct a clerical
mistake, i.e., an error "arising from oversight or
omission," which may be brought at any time. See MCR
determine the nature of a filing, we look through the
party's labels and focus on the substance of the filing.
See Altobelli v Hartmann, 499 Mich. 284, 299; 884
N.W.2d 537 (2016). Here, it is clear that defendant was not
seeking to correct an invalid sentence imposed by the court
but rather was attempting to enforce the imposed sentence.
The trial court agreed with defendant that the Oakland County
Jail's interpretation of the "sentence begins"
date was incorrect and amended the judgment of sentence
accordingly. Further, there was plainly an ambiguity in the
original judgment of sentence because the imposed sentence
was consecutive to the parole violation but also set to run
from the date of sentencing. Indeed, both defendant and the
prosecutor requested an amendment to the judgment of
sentence. For those ...