Court of Appeals Overturns Concealed Weapon Ruling


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People v. Brown, Michigan Court of Appeals (Published Opinion)

Issues:

Motion to dismiss a carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) charge; MCL 750.227(2); People v. Combs; Notice of revocation of a CCW license under the the Concealed Pistol Licensing Act (CPLA) (MCL 28.421 et seq.); MCL 28.428(7) & (8); People v. Quinn; Exemptions to criminal liability under the CCW statute & CPLA; MCL 28.428; MCL 750.231; MCL 750.231a; The doctrine of in pari materia; People v. Mazur; Principle that where the Legislature has chosen to specifically limit the applicability of a statutory definition, the doctrine of in pari materia is inapplicable; People v. Feeley; Principle that a court may not add a provision to a statute that the Legislature saw fit to omit; People v. Kern; Operating while intoxicated (OWI); Concealed pistol license (CPL); Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)

Summary:

The court held that the trial court erred by dismissing defendant’s CCW charge. Defendant’s CPL was revoked after an OWI. A little more than two years later, he was involved in an accident. He was charged with OWI, CCW, and possessing a firearm while under the influence. The trial court dismissed the CCW charge, finding he could not be criminally liable for CCW because the prosecution failed to produce evidence that conclusively showed he received notice that his CPL was suspended or revoked. It explained that verbal notice was insufficient under the CPLA, and that the LEIN entry was also inadequate. On appeal, the court agreed with the prosecution that the trial court erred by dismissing the charge. “[T]o prove CCW, the prosecution was not required to show that defendant had notice that his CPL was revoked." As such, the trial court erred by holding he “was ‘not criminally liable for CCW’ because the prosecution ‘failed to produce evidence that conclusively demonstrates that [he] received notice . . . that his CPL was suspended or revoked.’” Because this error “was the basis for the trial court’s dismissal of [his] CCW charge, the dismissal was necessarily an abuse of discretion.” The court also rejected defendant’s argument that he should not be held criminally liable for the CCW charge because, under the doctrine of in pari materia, the notice provisions in the CPLA should be construed together with the CCW statute. “[T]he Legislature chose to limit the applicability of MCL 28.428’s exemptions from criminal liability solely to criminal liability under the CPLA, and, thus, ‘the doctrine of in pari materia is inapplicable.’” As such, the court declined “to make the notice requirement in the CPLA an element of CCW.” Finally, the court agreed with the prosecution that even if it was required to show that defendant had notice his CPL was revoked or suspended in order to prove CCW, the evidence showed he was served with adequate notice. “[N]othing in MCL 28.428 states how an individual must be notified that his or her CPL has been revoked or suspended, only that the individual receive notice.” Thus, the trial court erred in ruling "that verbal notice was insufficient under MCL 28.428.” Further, the “uncontested evidence showed that defendant received written notice that his CPL was suspended, and nothing suggests [he] had reason to believe that this suspension was lifted.” Reversed and remanded.

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