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143733 - People v Brown (Shawn)

The People of the State of Michigan,
Heather S. Bergmann
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals
(Kalamazoo – Giguere, G.)
Shawn Thomas Brown,
Anne M. Yantus


​Shawn Brown was arrested on charges of second-degree home invasion, larceny of firearms, felon in possession of a firearm, and larceny in a building, as a second habitual offender. Brown pled guilty, as a second habitual offender, to second-degree home invasion, in exchange for dismissal of the other charges. At sentencing, the trial court described the plea and maximum sentence to Brown: “You would plead guilty to the offense known as second-degree home invasion. That is a felony; it is punishable by up to fifteen years in the state prison. Do you understand?” Brown answered “Yes,” and entered a guilty plea. He was later sentenced to a prison term of six years, four months to 22.5 years. The maximum sentence increased from 15 years to 22.5 years because Brown pled guilty as a second-habitual offender.

Brown filed a motion to withdraw his plea or for resentencing. Brown contended that his plea was not knowing and voluntary because the trial court failed to inform him that, as an habitual offender, Brown could serve up to 22.5 years. Brown argued that his plea did not comply with MCR 6.302(B)(2), which requires the trial court to inform a defendant of the “maximum possible sentence required by law.” The trial court denied the motion on the authority of People v Boatman, 273 Mich App 405 (2006). In Boatman, the Court of Appeals held that a trial court does not have to inform a defendant of the enhanced maximum sentence in order to comply with MCR 6.302(B)(2). The Boatman panel explained that “the language of the court rule does not encompass a specific requirement to inform a habitual offender regarding the effect this status has on sentencing.” The Court of Appeals opined that the absence of such a requirement is “at odds with the intent of the law, which is to assure an informed decision by a defendant in accepting or entering into a plea agreement by requiring that the most significant repercussion of that agreement, by actual duration of the sentence to be imposed, be known and understood in advance.” But, the Boatman panel concluded, “any expansion of the scope or language of MCR 6.302 . . . must be initiated by the Supreme Court rather than through this Court’s broadened interpretation of the existing language.”

Brown filed an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals, raising the plea issue, but the Court of Appeals denied his application. Brown appeals.