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142442-3 - People v Laidler (Marteez)

The People of the State of Michigan,
Toni Odette
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Wayne – Fresard, P.)
Marteez Donovan Laidler,
Jonathan B.D. Simon


​During the early morning of May 5, 2009, Marteez Laidler and Dante Holmes tried to break into a house in Detroit; as Holmes tried to enter through a window, the homeowner shot and killed him. Laidler was charged with first-degree home invasion and was tried before a Wayne County jury. The prosecutor’s theory was that Laidler assisted Holmes by helping him up to the window, which was six feet above the ground. The jury found Laidler guilty as charged.

At sentencing, the prosecutor argued that the trial court should assess 100 points under Offense Variable 3 (degree of physical injury to a victim) because Holmes was killed during the home invasion. Defense counsel objected, arguing that Laidler did not intend to kill anyone, and that scoring OV 3 at 100 points would lead to an excessive sentence. The trial judge concluded that she was required to assess 100 points under OV 3 because someone was killed during the commission of the crime. With the scoring of 100 points under OV 3, the trial judge determined that Laidler’s guidelines range was range was 36 to 60 months; she sentenced Laidler to four to 20 years in prison.

Laidler appealed. In a split, published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed Laidler’s conviction, but vacated his sentence and remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing. The trial court erred in assessing 100 points under OV 3, the Court of Appeals majority said, because MCL 777.33(1) authorizes the assessment of points under OV 3 only when a “victim” of the sentencing offense was killed or injured. Holmes was not a “victim” because he was not harmed by Laidler’s criminal activity or by the crime that he committed with Laidler; the “victim” was the homeowner, and he was not injured, the majority said. Because there was no “physical injury to a victim” in this case, OV 3 cannot be scored, the majority held. Even if Holmes could be considered a “victim” under the statute, his death resulted from the homeowner’s actions, not the commission of a crime, the majority stated. The dissenting Court of Appeals judge would have affirmed the trial court’s scoring of OV 3, reasoning that Laidler’s crime was home invasion, and that the home invasion resulted in Holmes’ death. In this case, said the dissenting judge, both the homeowner and Holmes were victims. The prosecutor appeals.