Notable Cases

Federal Cases

Deboer v. Snyder:

Stanyar quarterbacked this historic victory, in federal court, from start to finish: drafting the original complaint and co-authoring all pleadings to challenge Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban on due process and equal protection grounds, deposing expert witnesses, appearing as lead counsel at trial, prevailing after a two-week battle of the experts before Judge Friedman in the Eastern District of Michigan; acting as lead counsel, co-authoring all pleadings and arguing the case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; filing the case as counsel of record for Michigan Petitioners in the United States Supreme Court, co-authoring the petition for certiorari and all briefs in this successful ground-breaking litigation, captioned by the Supreme Court as Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2016).

Couch v. Booker:

Stanyar was lead counsel in this successful appeal to the Sixth Circuit challenging trial counsel’s ineffective assistance for a defendant improperly convicted of murder when he interceded as a Good Samaritan to stop a rape in progress. A lengthy evidentiary hearing following her filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Eastern District of Michigan involved a complete reinvestigation of cause of death issues, including new evidence from witnesses at the scene, responding paramedics, and forensic pathologists, as well as recovery and re-analysis of the deceased’s brain tissue.

Ege v. Yukins:

Stanyar was lead counsel in this successful federal appeal to the Sixth Circuit of a first-degree murder conviction challenging the state trial expert’s opinion that there was a “3.1 million to 1 chance” that a bite mark on the victim’s body could have been made by anyone other than the defendant. The case was won on appeal under the “Daubert” standard applicable to expert testimony lacking in an adequate scientific foundation, where Stanyar’s investigation revealed that the expert had a series of demonstrably erroneous bite-mark identifications in capital cases.

United States v. Browder:

Stanyar was successful in an appeal to the Sixth Circuit, with the Court ordering a remand to the Eastern District of Michigan for the resentencing of a defendant who was improperly scored as an “armed career criminal” based upon a state criminal conviction for breaking and entering of a building.

United States v. Hussein:

Stanyar was successful in the Eastern District of Michigan and in the Sixth Circuit, defending against the United States Attorney’s challenge to the defendant’s one-day sentence for drug distribution, which reflected a 37-month downward departure from the U.S. Sentence Guidelines. The reviewing court upheld the lenient sentence based on its finding that Ms. Husein provided irreplaceable “round-clock-care” for her ailing father and the rest of her family.

United States v. Tocco, Corrado, et. al:

Stanyar represented alleged Detroit “Mafia” figures, both in the district court and on appeal, in this indictment that spanned 30 years and alleged various acts of conspiracy, racketeering, gambling, extortion, and obstruction of justice. The Sixth Circuit remanded the case to the trial court based upon Stanyar’s claim that the trial court had failed to handle an effort to tamper with jurors at trial.

Michigan v. Chesternut:

Stanyar was lead counsel, drafted the certiorari-stage pleadings and brief on the merits, and argued this case before the United States Supreme Court, challenging a car chase of a pedestrian by police officers, conducted without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. While the Court declined to reverse Mr. Chesternut’s conviction, it reaffirmed that some kinds of intimidating police-citizen encounters will continue to constitute a Fourth Amendment “seizure”, thereby rejecting the State’s broader claim that no seizure could occur without a stop or an arrest.

State Cases

People v. Walter Budzyn:

Known as the “Malice Green” case, Stanyar was lead counsel in the successful appeal and retrial of Officer Walter Budzyn, challenging the defendant’s conviction based upon a host of extraneous influences on the jury in this high-profile murder trial, including the showing of the film Malcolm X to jurors shortly before their deliberations and jurors’ exposure to news media that the National Guard was being called out in anticipation of a Detroit riot in the event of an acquittal. The retrial involved complex scientific expert testimony from blood spatter experts, crime scene investigators, and forensic pathologists, with Budzyn being acquitted of murder charges.

People v. Tyburski:

Stanyar prevailed ultimately in the Michigan Supreme Court in the so-called “Freezer Murder” case from Canton, Michigan, the State’s first high-profile, pervasive publicity appeal. Mr. Tyburski was charged with killing his wife after discovering her affair with her daughter’s boyfriend, and hiding her body in the family freezer for three years. The Court ultimately accepted Stanyar’s challenge, first waged in the trial court, that the case called for special procedures – individualized voir dire and detailed questioning of jurors about media exposure, and cautionary instructions – where 100% of the jurors admitted knowing details about the case.

People v. Jimmy Matthews:

Stanyar prevailed at trial in this murder case presenting the first ever “battered lover syndrome” defense in America presented by a gay man charged with killing his male partner. Defense experts were presented both on the typical “battered woman syndrome” and on the battering relationship as it affects two male partners specifically in the African-American community. Stanyar also utilized juror questionnaires and detailed voir dire exploring juror bias against homosexuals.

People v. Itsumi Koga:

A Japanese woman, in the U.S. temporarily with her husband, an automobile employee, was charged in Oakland County with first degree murder in the drowning death of her infant son. Raising a psychiatric defense of postpartum psychosis, Ms. Stanyar and her co-counsel negotiated a resolution of the case which included a reduced charge, placement for six months at a pastoral psychiatric facility, and a return to Japan.