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Appeals court says Jackson judge overstepped, suggests he's 'in the wrong line of work'

Posted at 10:36 AM, Feb 06, 2022

JACKSON, Mich. — A Jackson woman convicted of killing her boyfriend in 2015 is set to be in court for a third time in April.

The case of Dawn Marie Dixon-Bey has drawn the attention of higher courts in Michigan after a Jackson County judge handed down a sentence nearly twice as long as the accepted state guidelines.

“She was convicted of second degree murder. And that's important because they acquitted her of first degree murder, and that's really the difference that all of this comes from," said Adrienne Young, Dixon-Bey's public defender.

She says that Jackson County Judge John McBain disregarded typical Michigan sentencing guidelines.

“Rather than arrive at something within the guidelines, he sentences her to 35 years minimum. Whereas the guideline said an appropriate sentence for someone in this situation is 12 years to 20 years," Young said.

In a 3-0 opinion Tuesday the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that the sentencing did not fit the crime and ruled that a different judge must hear the case next. This is the second time a higher court has struck down a sentence handed down by McBain in Dixon-Bey's case.

In their opinion the three judges wrote, "If a trial judge is unable to follow the law as determined by a higher appellate court, the trial judge is in the wrong line of work.”

But Young said that's not all that's alarming about Judge McBain's conduct.

“The other thing I like to bring attention to is his treatment of Miss Dixon-Bey," she said. "It definitely stands out in the recording of the proceeding because in my opinion, that's just as bad as not following the law is the way he completely dehumanizes Dawn Dixon-Bey.”

In her previous court appearances, Judge McBain repeatedly interrupted Dixon-Bey when she spoke and has a track record of vitriolic rhetoric.

“I think it's I think it's really important just how inhumanely Miss Dixon Bay was treated. Not the first time, either for the second time," Young said.

Judge McBain declined to comment on the case.

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