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Law

Stories regarding the legal system

Pepi Stojanovski / Unsplash

A U.S. Supreme Court decision has swept away Nevada's monopoly on legal sports betting. The 6-3 decision, released today, means states can opt to legalize sports betting and enjoy the tax benefits.

Fairy's signature black-and-white "Andre the Giant" face appeared on a water tower in downtown Detroit.
Eugene Kim / Flickr

The city of Detroit is suing Bedrock Management Services for allegedly failing to turn over information about tenants in some rental properties.

Bedrock is the real estate services firm owned by Quicken Loans CEO and downtown Detroit’s largest landowner, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert calls what the city is asking for "confidential personal information"--and says Bedrock won't release it without a court order.

Construction area with hard hat sign
benjamin sTone / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

A group of unions plans to file an emergency motion this morning with the Michigan Supreme Court. The construction worker unions want to block a state elections board from sending a question to the Legislature to outlaw state and local prevailing wage rules. The prevailing wage requires builders to pay workers union-level wages on taxpayer funded projects.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s back to court Monday for four defendants in the Flint water crisis investigation.

At the time of Flint’s ill-fated drinking water switch, district supervisor Stephen Busch, Community Drinking Water Unit specialist Patrick Cook, district engineer Michael Prysby, and chief of the office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Liane Shekter Smith were responsible for overseeing Flint’s water system for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  

They are now facing a variety of charges related to the city’s water crisis.

Christopher Peplin / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A court says the Legislature gets to vote on a petition-initiated bill that would outlaw rules for how workers are paid on publicly funded projects.

Prevailing wage rules adopted by the state and some local governments in Michigan require contractors to pay union-level wages on taxpayer-funded projects. 

A group led by non-union builders turned in almost 270,000 signatures of registered voters to put the question of banning prevailing wage rules to the Legislature.

Richard Phillips (left) and David Moran (right)
Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

 

Here is a story of murder, of injustice that took decades to correct, and of forgiveness.

Imagine yourself going about your life, when, suddenly, you're accused of murder. And nobody believes you when you say, "I didn't do it!" 

You're convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole. 

Drew, Cooper & Anding / YouTube Video

Legislation to lengthen the amount of time victims of sexual assault have to file complaints continues to get pushback. The bills are part of a response to former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar. He sexually assaulted his patients for years.

Part of bill package would lengthen the amount of time child victims of sexual assault have to file a civil lawsuit. The bills are currently in front of a state House committee. They recently passed out of the Senate.

Comic cover for the NAGPRA comic
Courtesy of Shannon Martin

 


 

Museums around the country have between 300,000 and 600,000 Native American human remains held in collections.  

 

In 1990, the federal government passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two figures in the Flint water crisis are due in court Monday.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Nick Lyon returns to district court in Flint for the 21st day of his preliminary hearing on a variety of charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

prescription pill bottle
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

The prescription opioid drug addiction problem not only takes its toll on individuals and families. It also costs local governments in many different ways -- from emergency medical services to more police work.

Some municipalities are signing on to a lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of the prescription painkillers.

7raysmarketing / pixabay

A state panel will recommend that ten new conditions be added to the list of acceptable reasons for medical marijuana use.

The panel of medical experts approved conditions like arthritis, obsessive compulsive disorder, spinal cord injury, and chronic pain.

But the panel wasn’t in favor of adding several mental health disorders – like anxiety and depression.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s top doctor and on the board. She says the petitions for most of the mental health conditions were too broad.

Karen Spranger
Macomb Daily

Federal District Judge George Steeh dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger Thursday.

Steeh ruled there was no relief under federal law for the complaints alleged in Spranger's lawsuit.

Spranger alleged there was a Democrat-led conspiracy to force her from office, because she is a Republican. 

The lawsuit also claimed it was a violation of her constitutional rights when the county revoked her authority to run the office as she saw fit.   

Michigan absentee voter form
State of Michigan

In the final days leading up to election day two years ago, Tom Barrett, a Republican candidate for the 71st District in Eaton County, was knocking on doors when he met a voter he had a lot in common with.

They got to talking about their shared military experience and after a while, the man said he wished he hadn't already voted for Barrett's opponent.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

There are new developments in the criminal case against a former dean of Michigan State University. A judge says two women cannot testify against William Strampel at a crucial hearing in June. Strampel is charged with using his position at MSU to try and get sexual favors from female students.

Siwatu-Salama Ra with her daughter, Zala.
Family photo

A 26-year-old, pregnant environmental activist is serving a two-year sentence at Michigan’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility right now.

But Siwatu-Salama Ra says she acted in self-defense when she pulled a gun on another woman last summer during an altercation outside her mother’s Detroit home.

Picture of Raheel Siddiqui in front of flags.
COURTESY OF THE SIDDIQUI FAMILY

It's been more than two years since a young Muslim Marine recruit from Taylor died in a fall at boot camp on Parris Island after reportedly being abused, hazed, and slapped by his drill instructor.

Today, the family of Raheel Siddiqui is scheduled to be in a federal courtroom in Detroit after filing a $100 million lawsuit against the Marine Corps. The family believes medical records have raised more questions and doubts about the official version of their son's death.

wikimedia commons

Stateside's Cynthia Canty recently spoke with David Carroll of the 6th Amendment Center about its new report, which concludes that public defenders in Wayne County are overworked, underpaid, and under-resourced.

He says there are only 16 public defenders for Wayne County when there should be 30.

Their caseloads are 145% of the national average, and they have no secretaries, paralegals or investigators.

They're also grossly underpaid.

Students sitting at desks in a classroom with a teacher at the front of the room
NeONBRAND / pixabay

The Legislature opened hearings today  on plans to make schools safer from guns and violence. It’s the first actions in Lansing since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

But there’s little agreement on what to do. School and law enforcement officials opposed plans to put metal detectors in schools. Michigan State Police Lt. Amy Dehner testified before a state House committee. She said grading schools on their security arrangements, and making the grades public is a bad idea.

Michigan Radio
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Larry Nassar scandal will shape Michigan’s laws for decades to come.

Nassar is the former Olympics and Michigan State University sports doctor who was convicted of sexually assaulting young girls under the guise of treatment. He’ll likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

The state Legislature has more than 30 bills on its plate aimed at curbing sexual assault in the state and preventing another case like Nassar’s from happening again.

Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Prescription opioids and other addictive medications would have to be dispensed in lockable vials under legislation that was introduced yesterday in the Michigan House. 

The goal of the bill is to deter young people from sneaking small numbers of pills from bottles they find in their homes or the homes of friends.

SHAYAN SANYAL / HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

As the legislature looks to address sexual assault at Michigan State University, the Detroit Free Press has been examining sexual harassment among employees in Michigan's prisons.

The paper reports women who work for the Michigan Department of Corrections say sexual harassment is still a problem, even though the state pledged 30 years ago to stamp it out. And so far, the Department has refused to share many details.

Scott / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

What is the most appropriate way to pay for criminal courts in Michigan? That's the essential question before the Michigan Trial Court Funding Commission.

The commission is grappling with how much of the cost of administering justice should be paid for by the people who use the courts, i.e. those who are ticketed and/or arrested -- and how much of the financial burden should fall to citizens, regardless of whether or not they'll ever see the inside of a courtroom.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A key figure in exposing Flint’s water crisis vigorously defended one of the state officials criminally charged in the crisis in a Genesee County courtroom Tuesday.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha’s research revealed elevated blood lead levels in Flint children in 2015. The study came after residents had complained for more than a year about the quality of the city’s water after its source was switched to the Flint River. 

But state officials initially attacked the study and tried to dismiss it.

CAMPBELL ALLAN

Kids hoping to get high off laughing gas would have a harder time under a bill headed toward Gov. Rick Snyder's desk.

CPB agents in Mexico port of entry
CPB

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says its 2017 annual civil rights report shows a spike in complaints of discrimination against Muslims - especially against federal agencies, like Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The report says incidents in which people were inappropriately targeted and harassed by CPB were the second most frequent type of abuse and constituted 13% of cases.  

"This is the first time that CBP has ranked within the top five," says the report, "and it is possible to attribute this to the unconstitutional Muslim Ban executive order."

Eddie Curlin
MDOC

A black man who spray painted racist graffiti on Eastern Michigan University buildings in 2016 and 2017 has pleaded guilty to three charges of malicious destruction of property, a misdemeanor, and four counts of identity theft -- a felony -- related to the investigation.

The investigation into the vandalism cases showed that Eddie Curlin vandalized the buildings and then acted as an informant to police on the pretense of helping to solve the case in order to have other previous criminal charges dropped and be allowed to return as a student to Eastern Michigan University.

pile of one  dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - A rogue trash hauler who bribed public officials to protect his business in suburban Detroit has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in federal prison.

Chuck Rizzo paid off officials in Macomb County and also stole $900,000 from the company, formerly known as Rizzo Environmental Services, when it was controlled by out-of-state investors.

Rizzo was sentenced Monday in federal court in Port Huron. He says, "I have let many people down."

solar panels
David Goehring / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two solar energy companies say DTE Energy is stonewalling to keep them out of the state.

Kevin Borgia is with Cypress Creek Renewables, which plans up to 700 megawatts of new solar farms in Michigan.

He says the company can't proceed without first getting basic information from DTE, like where's a good place to connect to DTE's grid - and what kind of transmission upgrades will be needed.

He says DTE is violating state law by continually failing to meet deadlines to provide the information. "Over 100 times DTE has failed to meet those deadlines," he says.

kate wells / Michigan Radio

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will affect the fates of hundreds of Iraqi nationals living in Michigan.

Scores of Iraqi nationals living in Metro Detroit were picked up as part of a nationwide sweep by federal immigration agents.

Flint water bottle station
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge won't force the state to immediately resume giving out bottled water to Flint residents affected by the city's lead-tainted tap water crisis.

The decision Friday concerns the case of Flint resident Allen Bryant Jr. A recently filed lawsuit says that Bryant and other residents still have dangerous levels of lead in their tap water. It asks a judge to compel the state to continue funding bottled water distribution.

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