The sentence handed down to a local man convicted in an assault case will stand.

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in the case of 59-year-old Jack Norman Rukes, who was convicted by a Livingston County Circuit Court jury of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. Rukes was sentenced as a second-offense habitual offender and ordered to serve a minimum of one year and six months to a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Rukes had been renting a room in Joe Hubenschmidt’s mobile home, where they and several others were said to be drinking and socializing on June 4th, 2015. According to testimony, Rukes kept calling Hubenschmidt “bro” with the banter reportedly escalating throughout the day. Witnesses said they heard a loud noise from outside, went in to investigate and saw Hubenschmidt lying on the kitchen floor, covered in blood, and Rukes sitting on a sofa in the living room. Hubenschmidt testified that he was attacked from behind by Rukes, who repeatedly hit and kicked him. Hubenschmidt was hospitalized for several lacerations that required stitches and had extensive bruising and swelling on his face but also sustained fractures to his eye socket and jaw.

At trial, Rukes maintained Hubenschmidt attacked first and he struck in self-defense. In his appeal, Rukes argued the trial court erred by admitting evidence that he was previously convicted of aggravated assault against his former wife. He alleged separate claims of prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel and that his pre-sentence investigation report contained numerous inaccuracies. Rukes further argued the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. The appeals panel rejected all of the claims and stated the evidence was sufficient. The full opinion is attached.

Rukes remains incarcerated at the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson County. His maximum discharge date is August 19th, 2030. (JM)