Michigan v. Lyles (Opinion on Application)Annotate this Case
In his trial for first-degree murder, the trial court improperly denied defendant William Lyles, Jr.’s request for an instruction informing the jury that his evidence of good character could create a reasonable doubt. The issue this case presented for the Michigan Supreme Court’s review was whether defendant has shown that it was more likely than not that this error was outcome-determinative. Defendant was permitted to introduce his good character evidence; it was, however, minimal and strongly contradicted by the prosecution’s witnesses. Given this and the other evidence implicating defendant in the murder, the Supreme Court could not conclude that the absence of the instruction (the only error alleged here) made the difference: defendant did not show it was more likely than not that the outcome would have been different.