federal court

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has dismissed two federal consent decrees against the Detroit Police Department, freeing it from strict federal oversight.

The department has been monitored for compliance with the decrees since 2003, after a US Justice Department investigation found a “pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing.”

The problems included unlawfully detaining witnesses, “deplorable” holding cell conditions, and chronic use of excessive force.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman was appointed to the bench by President Reagan.
wikipedia

Bernard Friedman is the U.S. District Judge who today refused to throw out a case that challenged Michigan's ban on gay marriage.

Friedman was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be a federal judge for the Eastern District of Michigan in 1988 and he became the Chief Judge of the District in 2004. 

Now he has senior status, which a federal judge can opt for instead of retiring. A senior status judge only hears the cases that the Chief Judge assigns to him or her. 

Flickr/Marlith

In a preliminary ruling, a federal judge has struck down a state law that prohibits public employers from offering health coverage and other benefits to the live-in partners of gay and lesbian employees.

The state law was aimed at at least 10 Michigan school districts, municipalities, counties, and community colleges that made provisions to ensure the benefits of employees in same-sex relationships covered by their partners and any children they might be raising together. That after voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Michigan Constitution.

Lawsuit filed to protect Great Lakes wolf population

Feb 12, 2013
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Flickr

The Humane Society along with several other groups filed a lawsuit in federal court today to put a stop to gray wolf hunting in the Great Lakes Region.

The lawsuit is against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its decision to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region from the Endangered Species List.

If its successful, the lawsuit would place the wolves back under federal protection.

US Supreme Court

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge says all Michigan inmates serving no-parole sentences for murder committed as juveniles are entitled to a chance at release.
 
Judge John Corbett O'Meara says a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory no-parole sentences applies retroactively to Michigan inmates already behind bars.

O'Meara's decision Wednesday trumps a ruling last fall by the Michigan appeals court, which said retroactivity would not apply for most.

base photo U.S. Marshals / Michigan Radio

You'll be seeing a lot of news about the trial of seven militia members accused of plotting a violent uprising against the government in the coming weeks.

Their trial got underway today in U.S. District Court in Detroit with Judge Victoria Roberts presiding.

A little background - nine Hutaree militia members were arrested in March of 2010.

Prosecutors say they were plotting to kill an unidentified police officer in April 2010, and to follow up that attack with more attacks on officers gathering for a funeral for the police officer.

A federal grand jury indicted the nine "on charges of seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence."

One of the nine initial defendants, two are not part of this trial:

  • Joshua Clough of Blissfield, Michigan made a deal with prosecutors and could be called as a witness during the trial.
  • Jacob Warn of Huron, Ohio was found temporarily incompetent to stand trial. He's expected to be tried later.

Twelve jurors and four alternates were selected during a final round of jury selection this morning in Detroit.

Judge Victoria Roberts told those chosen that the job is a "heavy responsibility."

WASHINGTON (AP) - One of the nation's largest consumer debt buyers will pay a $2.5 million civil fine to settle deception allegations.

The Federal Trade Commission says Michigan-based Asset Acceptance agreed to the penalty and to changes in the way it collects debt.

The company buys unpaid debts from credit card companies, health clubs and others. The FTC alleged that Asset tried to collect debt in some cases that wasn't even owed. In other cases, the FTC says the company told consumers they owed a debt that may have been too old to collect because it was past the statute of limitations.

As part of the proposed settlement, Asset Acceptance will have to tell consumers that their debt may be too old to be legally enforceable and that it won't sue to collect.

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Wayland Township resident has the legal standing to sue to stop the development of a casino.

The Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians recently announced their plans to open the casino in Wayland Township south of Grand Rapids:

The Associated Press reports that the federal appeals court will allow David Patchak to "challenge how the federal government placed the land in trust for the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians."

There are two unique job openings in Detroit. How would you like to be a federal judge? The Associated Press reports:

 

Applications are available for people who want to become a federal judge in Detroit. 

Michigan

Sens

. Carl Levin and Debbie

Stabenow

are asking a committee to advise them on two openings. It will be chaired by Detroit lawyer Eugene Driker. 

There are openings at the federal court in Detroit because judges Bernard Friedman and Arthur Tarnow have chosen to take senior status, which can reduce their caseloads. 

Wayne County Judge David Allen recently withdrew his name after more than a year of delay. Levin and

Stabenow

had recommended him to President Barack Obama but he was never formally nominated.  

Allen says the confirmation process in the

U.S

. Senate is "broken."   

Applications from Levin's office are due Jan. 24.