The state’s appeals court will again decide whether DNA evidence pertaining to a local rape case can be brought before a jury.

The Michigan Court Appeals has set arguments next month on the appeal of a ruling by Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty that DNA evidence is admissible in the rape case against 23-year-old Justin Michael Bailey of Oceola Township. In November of 2014, Bailey is alleged to have raped a 17-year-old girl at a friend’s party after she became sick from drinking too much. He was charged with two counts of third degree criminal sexual conduct.

The Livingston County Prosecutor’s Office requested that evidence be excluded from the trial that indicated DNA collected from the alleged victim was from two different males; Bailey, and an unidentified source. They maintained it violated the state’s rape shield law, which protects victim’s sexual history being used against them. But after Judge Hatty ruled the evidence could be introduced by Bailey’s defense, prosecutors appealed.

In May of 2017, the court of appeals declined to hear the case, saying there was a, “lack of merit in the grounds presented.” Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled in October that the lower court needed to make a decision. Oral arguments will be heard February 13th by a three-judge panel of the appeals court in Lansing. (JK)