Michigan v. Ghazi Salameh Marji

Summary of the cause of action

In May 2010, Mr. Marji pleaded no contest to felonious assault. The court ordered him to pay $22,774.42 in restitution plus various court costs and fees, and sentenced him to one year in jail to be followed by two years of probation. He was released early from jail for good behavior, and the home confinement portion of his probation was modified so he could work as trucker. Three months later, he was in arrears on his court debt, retired, and only receiving $1000.00 a month. He made payments of $150.00 month almost regularly but continued to be in arrears. In May 2015, he had a restitution balance of $14,801.12, but the probation officer’s report used much of the information from his presentence investigation report. It was unclear whether Mr. Marji stilled owned or had assets from a trucking business that would help him to pay his restitution. However, the Court made no findings, only expressed disbelief that Mr. Marji did not have more income, revoked his probation, and sent him to prison. The court failed to determine his employment status, earning ability, and financial resources. Mr. Marji appealed.


On appeal, the Court found, per curiam, a trial court may not revoke a defendant’s probation and send him to prison unless there is a finding that he or she has the ability to pay restitution and is in willful default. The court must consider the defendant’s ability to pay. The case was reversed and remanded for a new probation violation hearing.

42 U.S.C. § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
330193 (Mich. Ct. App. March 14, 2017)
November 2015
Lyda Madelaine P