Michigan Court of Appeals Rules Felony Charge Dismissal in Chicago Cop’s Shooting of Girl Stands

Left: Aiyana Stanley-Jones was sleeping on a couch when she was shot in the head by a round from Officer Joseph Weekley's gun on May 16, 2010.(Photo: Family photo) Right: Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley listens in court
Left: Aiyana Stanley-Jones was sleeping on a couch when she was shot in the head by a round from Officer Joseph Weekley’s gun on May 16, 2010.(Photo: Family photo) Right: Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley listens in court

A judge’s decision Friday to dismiss a felony charge against a Detroit police officer on trial in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl will stand.

“Because the oral granting of defendant’s motion (to dismiss the charge) and the trial court’s entry of its written order to this effect took place before any appellate review was able to occur, this Court is barred from reviewing the trial court’s decision,” the Michigan Court of Appeals order issued Monday said.

Wayne County prosecutors plan to file an emergency motion for reconsideration with the Court of Appeals on Monday, said Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.

“The Court of Appeals correctly decided the issue,” police officer Joseph Weekley’s attorney Steve Fishman said in an e-mail Monday.

On Friday, prosecutors filed an emergency appeal after Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway dismissed a felony charge of involuntary manslaughter against Weekley.

One of the three judges on the Court of Appeals commented separately Monday, saying Hathaway “erred” in granting the motion for dismissal of the charge, but said the court is barred from reviewing the decision.

“Although I find that the trial court erred in form and substance in granting defendant’s motion for directed verdict, we are barred from reviewing that decision,” Presiding Judge Michael Talbot wrote.

Weekley still faces careless discharge of a firearm causing death, a misdemeanor, in the fatal shooting of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, which happened as police executed a search warrant for a murder suspect in May 2010.

Roland Lawrence, chairman of Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee, released a statement Monday saying the group is pushing for a review of the decision by the Michigan Supreme Court.

“Surely, the death of a baby by a well-trained police force must be deemed unacceptable in a civilized society,” he said in a statement.

Lawrence said Aiyana’s family remains devastated.

“And this ruling by the high court does not help to ease their pain,” the statement said.

Parties and jurors are set to return to Hathaway’s courtroom Tuesday morning.

At issue in court Friday was the word “willful.”

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SOURCE: USA Today / Detroit Free Press – Elisha Anderson

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