According to the Michigan Supreme Court, Anthony and Marsha Springer are entitled to a new trial, on the grounds that their attorneys may have provided ineffective assistance during their 2010 trial. Both are currently behind bars serving sentences for torture and child abuse, for the death of their 16-year-old daughter Calista Springer.
In 2008, the Springer’s home was demolished by a fire. But while the fire itself was determined to be an accident, the fact that Calista Springer was chained to her bed, unable to escape, was not. Court documents show that it was the prosecution’s argument that this was nothing new. That Calista was regularly tied to her bed by way of a dog chain wrapped tightly around her waist, and forced to sleep on a bare mattress without even a blanket or a pillow.
The Springer’s, however, denied that. They reasoned that Calista suffered from serious mental problems and had to be restrained at night for her own safety. Her father also claims that she was a compulsive liar and a compulsive eater of non-food items like wood, soil, and paper.
The Springers were charged with child abuse, torture, and murder. But the jury acquitted them of the murder charge, but finding them guilty of abuse and torture. They were sentenced in the St. Joseph County Circuit Court. Marsha was given 18 years, 9 months to 50 years for torture, and 95 months to 15 years for child abuse, while Anthony Springer received 25 years to 50 years for torture, and 10 years to 15 years for child abuse.
But the story doesn’t end there. The Springers immediately began the process of petitioning the court for a reversal of judgment. When that was denied, they moved on to the Court of Appeals, which upheld their convictions. But they didn’t give up. Convinced that they had been denied a fair trial due to their attorneys having done a poor job representing them, they turned to the Michigan Supreme Court for help.
And the Springers may have finally got their wish. On the 29th of October, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling entitling the couple to hearings, where the effectiveness of their trial attorneys will be determined. The hearing will take place in the St. Joseph County Circuit Court.
But if the hearing reveals that the Springer’s respective attorneys did in fact do their jobs, then this was the last hope. The Supreme Court rulings specified that while they are entitled to the determination hearings, Anthony and Marsha Springer are forbidden to appeal to the court “in all other respects.”