Cases & Deals

Writ of habeas corpus is secured for indigent man imprisoned in Detroit

Client(s) Brown, Michael

Eric Murphy and Kurt Copper (along with our former colleague Erin Barnhart) recently secured a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Michael Brown, an indigent man imprisoned in Detroit. Brown claimed that he had been deprived of his constitutional right to submit a knowing and voluntary guilty plea when he was sentenced to 14-30 years in prison after being told that, if he pled guilty, "any potential sentence" would be "capped" at 14 years or he could withdraw his plea. Jones Day was appointed to represent him before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. After briefing and argument, the Sixth Circuit held that the state court record supported Mr. Brown's claim that his guilty plea in state court had not been knowingly and voluntarily entered. The Sixth Circuit remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing, at which Jones Day continued its representation. After the hearing and additional briefing, the Court granted a writ of habeas corpus to Mr. Brown, ordering that the state either (1) resentence Brown to a maximum of 14 years (which he originally understood to be the maximum he could receive); (2) allow him to withdraw his plea; or (3) release him.

Brown v. McKee, No. 07-2223, 2009 WL 2031861 (6th Cir. July 15, 2009)