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House committee holds hearing on expanding exoneration law

Michigan Supreme Court
Rick Pluta
Michigan Supreme Court

One of the bills would allow defendants who pleaded guilty to ask to have their cases re-opened

The legislation would allow people who enter guilty pleas to come back later and ask for a court-ordered test of DNA evidence. Currently that can only happen if the prosecutor agrees. But Jessica Zimbelman with the State Appellate Defenders Office says people are cajoled into pleading guilty by law enforcement, attorneys or friends and family members.

“There’s a whole host of reasons why someone who’s not guilty would plead guilty.”

In fact, the Michigan Supreme Court has arguments teed up next week on whether a man was improperly coerced into entering a guilty plea with a promise of leniency for him and his brother. The charges included assault with intent to commit murder.

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