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In adopting Mich. Const. art. 1, § 15 in 1963, the people of Michigan intended that the double jeopardy provision would be construed consistently with Michigan precedent and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It has long been understood that Michigan's Double Jeopardy Clause derives from the common law and that its meaning must be discerned by reference thereto. At the time of the ratification of Mich. Const. art. 1, § 15, in 1963, it was established that the term "same offense" was defined by reference to the same-elements test as set forth by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in its Moray decision, and subsequently adopted by the United States Supreme Court. Moreover, the people were advised in the address to the people that the proposed double jeopardy provision was conterminous with the Fifth Amendment. In 1963 and thereafter, the "same-elements" test which the United States Supreme Court adopted in its Blockburger decision provided the definition for the term "same offence" in the Fifth Amendment. The same-elements test best gives effect to the plain meaning of that term, and also best gives effect to the intent of the people who ratified the Michigan Constitution in 1963.
Defendant Melissa Ann Nutt was charged in Lapeer County (Michigan) with second-degree home invasion and larceny in a building, after she told police that she participated in three burglaries that occurred in Lapeer County, and police found firearms and other items that were stolen in a cabin in Oakland County (Michigan). Defendant pled guilty to one count of second-degree home invasion in Lapeer County six days after she was charged in Oakland County with receiving and concealing a stolen firearm. Subsequently, she filed a motion to dismiss the charge in Oakland County, arguing that a second prosecution would violate her rights under U.S. Const. amend. V and Mich. Const. art. 1, § 15. The Oakland Circuit Court granted the motion, but the Court of Appeals of Michigan reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded the case. The state supreme court granted leave to appeal.
Could the defendant be prosecuted in Oakland County for receiving and concealing a stolen firearm without violating her rights under U.S. Const. amend. V and Mich. Const. art. 1, § 15?
The state supreme court affirmed the intermediate appellate court's holding that defendant could be prosecuted in Oakland County for receiving and concealing a stolen firearm. The court abandoned the doctrine laid down in People v White, 390 Mich. 245, 212 N.W.2d 222 (1973), and adopted the "same-elements" test that the U.S. Supreme Court adopted in its Blockburger decision. The same-elements test focused on the statutory elements of the offense. If each required proof of a fact that the other did not, the Blockburger test was satisfied, notwithstanding a substantial overlap in the proof offered to establish the crimes. In this case, the court held that the Oakland County was not barred by U.S. Const. amend. V or Mich. Const. art. 1, § 15 from prosecuting defendant for receiving and concealing a stolen firearm, as the elements of that offense and the offense of second-degree home invasion were not the same.