Law

Stories regarding the legal system

UGA College of Ag & Environment / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A homeowner in Howell has to pay the city for cutting the grass in the public right of way in front of his house. That’s the decision from a federal appeals court.

  

Lawn-mowing in Howell became a federal case after the city pulled a tree from the strip between the sidewalk and the curb and replaced it with saplings without the homeowner’s approval.

Michigan Supreme Court
photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court dealt two blows to public employee unions on Wednesday.

The court ruled that Michigan’s right-to-work law does apply to state workers. That means they can decline to pay union dues without risking losing their jobs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

At a meeting in Port Huron yesterday, targets of law enforcement drug task forces said those officers are abusing their power in Michigan.

Speaker after speaker claimed the raids by heavily armed police officers on their homes have resulted in extensive damage and scared their children.  During the raids, they claim officers tried to intimidate them. 

Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Attorneys specializing in marijuana law now have their own division within the State Bar of Michigan.

The state Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have had to rule on several cannabis issues since voters approved medical marijuana in 2008.

The chair of the new division says it will make it easier to attorneys to keep track of Michigan’s complex and ever-evolving medical marijuana law. 

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

Having a Michigan medical marijuana card does not provide sweeping immunity from drug charges, according to a ruling from the state Supreme Court. But, at the same time, the unanimous opinion says prosecutors can’t argue a single misstep proves a cardholding caretaker under the law is a drug dealer.

U.S. Supreme Court
user dbking / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  Michigan may have to pay up to $2 million in legal fees related to the case that struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

The six attorneys who successfully challenged the ban want the state to reimburse them for their legal costs. They say they worked thousands of hours on the case – which was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s police chief says a crackdown on ‘parking lot partying’ is paying off. 

Convenience and party store parking lots have been a place to ‘hang out’ in Flint for years. But Police Chief James Tolbert says many people have been doing more than hanging out. The ‘parking lot partying’ has also included illegal drug use and prostitution.   Violent crime has also been an issue. 

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

The ADA prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability. It affords people with disabilities similar protections against discrimination as the 1964 Civil Rights act, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal.

The ADA also requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities and requires accessibility in public places. 

Arielle Hines / Michigan Radio

Washtenaw County officials announced a new initiative that will try to put a stop to gang violence in the Ypsilanti area. 

The initiative includes increasing the number of officers in Ypsilanti. The announcement comes after multiple shootings between two rival gangs over the course of several days.

via 38th District Court

A low-income Metro Detroit woman who faced jail time over dog license fees got help from a higher court this week.

The Macomb County Circuit Court stepped in to stop an Eastpointe judge from sentencing Donna Anderson.

Anderson told 38th District Court Judge Carl Gerds she couldn’t afford the $455 in licensing costs and court fees.

WAFERBOARD / CREATIVE COMMONS / HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The CEO of a mental health facility in Battle Creek spent $510,000 of public money on a psychic palm reader in Key West, Florida.

Ervin Brinker was fired back in February from his position at Summit Pointe, a provider of mental and behavioral health services to Medicaid recipients in eight southern Michigan counties.

Dept of Homeland Security

Three federal border agents who died during the Prohibition era in Michigan will be honored Thursday.

Border Patrol Inspectors Franklin Wood and Earl Roberts were killed by bootleggers near Detroit in the late 1920’s. Inspector Charles Inch was killed by a train as he pursued two people trying to enter illegally from Canada in 1932.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Drivers passing by military recruiting centers in the Flint area may be surprised to see armed men standing outside.

“We’re protecting those who protect us,” says Dave McKellar. 

McKellar and other local militia group members say they are there in response to last week’s deadly shooting spree in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Two U.S. representatives from Michigan announced at a farm near Monroe they plan to introduce legislation that would reduce pollution that causes harmful algae blooms in the Great Lakes.

Republican U.S. Rep. Candice Miller of Shelby Township and Tim Walberg of Tipton will sponsor a bill, the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act, that would reward farmers for voluntarily taking conservation measures. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s two largest counties are illegally foreclosing on thousands of properties for delinquent taxes, according to class-action lawsuits filed this month.

Wayne and Oakland counties have both foreclosed on thousands of properties for unpaid taxes in recent years.

But in doing so they’ve denied property owners their due process rights, according to the lawsuits filed in circuit courts for both counties.

Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office

Authorities say more work remains after DNA testing has been done on thousands of sexual assault kits discovered in a Detroit police property storage facility in 2009.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who has championed efforts to get the kits tested, recently gave an update.

Dank Depot / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  A Democrat in the state House plans to introduce a bill that would decriminalize and regulate marijuana in Michigan.

State Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, says public support for legalization has reached critical mass.

The ArduCopter from DIY Drones can take pictures in the sky.
DIY Drones

Legislation in Lansing would make it a crime to fly a drone around the state Capitol building without a permit.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission is responsible for maintaining the Capitol grounds, and it voted unanimously on Monday to ban remote-controlled aerial vehicles from flying over the building.

flickr

Clio Area School District has filled a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its gun policy. 

The lawsuit was filed by Kenneth Herman and Michigan Open Carry. Herman says he was denied entrance to an elementary school to pick up his daughter because he was open-carrying a pistol and has a license. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan man is among 46 federal prison inmates who had their prison sentences commuted by President Obama today.

Patrick Roberts was sentenced to life in prison in 1999, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to traffic heroin, cocaine and marijuana. He had four previous convictions.

karamanislaw.com

Detroit area cancer specialist Dr. Farid Fata will serve 45 years in prison for a health care fraud scheme that generated about $34 million in fraudulent Medicare claims.

Fata admitted to administering medically unnecessary cancer treatments to 553 patients. Those treatments included chemotherapy, intravenous iron, and various infusion therapies.

Steve Browne & John Verkleir / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Dearborn Heights police department will attempt to provide a female officer for Muslim women who must remove religious clothing including head coverings. The updated policy follows a lawsuit filed in January against the department by Malak Kazan, a Muslim woman. 

http://www.waynecounty.com/prosecutor/

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office says it's still investigating the death of Terrance Kellom, a 20-year-old man fatally shot by a federal agent in April.

“We are waiting for a report that we expect to receive in the near future,” said spokesperson Maria Miller on Thursday afternoon. “We must have that before a decision can be made in this matter. We do not expect to release anything at this time.”

But Friday morning a group of activists plan to hold a silent vigil outside the courthouse, saying the prosecutor promised the investigation would be released by tomorrow.

William James Herschel (1833-1917) / Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

A new Michigan State University study confirms something very important about human finger prints.

Law enforcement agencies have been using fingerprint evidence for a century.  But is it reliable over time?   Yes, says MSU researcher Anil Jain.

Jake Neher / MPRN

The race is on to legalize marijuana in Michigan in 2016.

At least three groups are working to put the question in front of voters. But money will play a big role in deciding which of those groups actually makes the ballot.

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered that 36th District Judge Brenda Sanders be removed from office due to mental illness.

The ruling was in agreement with a March recommendation from the Judicial Tenure Commission.

The commission said Sander's mental disability was preventing her from doing her job.

yingmeishow2011 / mandatory

Law enforcement officials are concerned about iPhone cases that look like guns. 

Numerous websites sell the cases, but police officers are urging the public not to buy them. 

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says the cases are dangerous because people may mistake them for real guns. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Police is among several law enforcement agencies on heightened alert for possible terrorism this holiday weekend.

Concerns have been raised by recent terrorist attacks in other parts of the world.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The East Lansing City Council is considering a new ordinance that would make recreational activities such as tanning or drinking on residential rooftops a misdemeanor.

George Lahanas is the city manager of East Lansing. He says he noticed many young people have been using roofs as a hangout spot.

Thomas Marthinsen / Flickr

The Livingston County Jail is expanding because of a boom in the female population.

The number of women currently doubles the jail's capacity. Officials attribute the overcrowding to a rise in heroin use and related crimes.

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