Law

Stories regarding the legal system

Lauri Rantala / Wikimedia Commons

The state Senate could vote today on legislation that would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. But Governor Rick Snyder says he’s against the bills and hopes lawmakers will adopt a different course.

Snyder says he’s opposed because he wants e-cigarettes to be regulated and taxed the same as tobacco. 

Taryn / Flickr

State lawmakers have approved a bill allowing student groups to sell sweets in school to raise money. Senate Bill 139 now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Student groups have complained new federal guidelines have hindered their ability to fundraise by holding bake sales. Those guidelines are meant to reduce the amount of unhealthy food sold in schools.

Inside the doctor's office.
Jennifer Morrow / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hand down a ruling that may decide whether thousands of Michiganders can afford health insurance.

The court could strike down insurance subsidies offered under the federal health care law. That’s in states like Michigan where the federal government runs the health care exchange.

House considers bill to limit local government power

May 15, 2015
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House is considering a bill that would limit local governments’ powers to enact policies for employers.

House Bill no. 4052 would prohibit local governments from creating policies and ordinances regulating the relationship between an employer and its employees.

www.ecigclick.co.uk / Flickr Creative Commons

Michigan would see a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and a ban on the sale of powdered alcohol to anyone, under bills approved this week by a Senate committee.  

The bills also would prohibit the possession and use of e-cigarettes by minors. And the possession and use of powdered alcohol would be illegal for everyone regardless of age.

Pixabay

A fair housing group is suing the owner of several apartment complexes for refusing to rent one-bedroom apartments to testers who said they had a child. 

Pam Kisch is head of the Fair Housing Center of Southeastern Michigan.

She says this particular kind of discrimination is pretty common, even though it's been illegal since 1988.

Liana Aghajanian / Flickr Creative Commons

A package of  four bills  is moving through the Michigan Legislature to require animal control and animal protection shelters to run criminal background checks on people wanting to adopt pets.

Under the bills, shelters could not allow a person convicted of  an animal abuse offense in the past five years to adopt a pet.  They could still deny adoption to someone convicted  more than five years ago. 

user eyspahn / Flickr

Candidates for mayor of Flint would get a one-time break from a state filing deadline under a bill before the Michigan Legislature.

It’s a response to bad information from the city clerk’s office.

State Capitol
user aunt owwee / Flickr

A state Senate committee has adopted bills to repeal the law that requires contractors to pay prevailing union wages on publicly funded construction projects.

A lot of the debate and testimony was about whether prevailing wage rules add to the cost of publicly funded projects.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard says politicians in Lansing and Washington are not listening to the needs of law enforcement.

Bouchard says police officers are a popular political target.

“I’m frustrated by the constant peppering of law enforcement from both the Far Right and the Far Left,” says Bouchard. “The Far Right seems to think we’re part of the NSA, and the Far Left wants to disarm us.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is getting a small share of a multi-million dollar settlement.

Sprint and Verizon have agreed to a $158 million national settlement over unauthorized charges on cell phone bills.

Verizon Wireless has agreed to pay $90 million and Sprint $68 million to settle charges that the mobile giants allowed phony charges on their customers' monthly bills.

Parent group wants to make Mich. schools gun-free zones

May 11, 2015
Paul Weaver / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of Ann Arbor parents is asking Michigan lawmakers to help keep guns out of Michigan's schools.

Dr. Sonya Lewis is spearheading a statewide MoveOn.org petition, urging the legislature to get rid of what some call the "open carry loophole."  The petition has more than 1,000 signatures.

State Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit.
senatedems.com

State Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit, has been arrested in connection with a shooting incident outside his home over the weekend.

The Detroit Police Department is expected to request a warrant on charges of aggravated assault and malicious destruction of property. The assault charge is a felony.

KitAy/Flickr / Wikipedia Creative Commons license

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 31.5% of people with student loan debt in the U.S. are at least a month behind in their payments.

And according to another Federal Reserve Bank (New York), 17% of those people are in default.

It's also not a problem just for young people.  Two-thirds of student loan debt is now owed by people over the age of 30.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

A group of about a dozen activists rallied in front of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office in Detroit today.

Last month,an ICE agent fatally shot a 20-year-old black man in Detroit during a police raid. 

Simon Brass / Flickr

The mother of an Ionia County prisoner is suing three prison guards for allegedly allowing her mentally ill son to commit suicide by drinking water nonstop for two hours, despite having placed him on suicide watch.

Kenneth Dalstra, 41, was serving 3 ½ to 75 years for criminal sexual conduct, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

People who were wrongfully convicted would be entitled to $60,000 for each year they spent in prison, under legislation unveiled today at the state Capitol.

State Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, says it’s the fair thing to do.

2 Inkster officers suspended after driver's videotaped beating in January

May 6, 2015
Ruin Raider / Flickr Creative Commons

Two Inkster police officers have been suspended without pay for their alleged involvement in the beating of a black motorist during a traffic stop in January.  

Union representative Al Lewis said Officer Chuck Randazzo was suspended for 15 days for excessive use of force and bringing the department disrepute.  He said Sgt. Shawn Kritzer was suspended for 30 days for not providing immediate medical attention for Floyd Dent.  

Antonin / Flickr Creative Commons

People whose food, cash, and child-care benefits were cut off  by the Michigan Department of Human Services because of an outstanding felony warrant may be able to get their benefits back. 

Kevin Kellom
Rebecca Kruth

The father of a young black man shot and killed by a federal agent on Detroit's west side said his son didn't deserve to die.

Terrance Kellom died  in his home from multiple gunshot wounds after a fugitive task force arrived to serve him with an arrest warrant on armed robbery charges.

michigandaily.com

A policy to ban guns in Ann Arbor schools is heading to the courtroom.

The policy stems from an incident last month when an Ann Arbor resident openly carried a gun to a high school choir concert.

People have been lining up outside the U.S. Supreme Court for days hoping that they will be among the lucky ones to get a seat for Tuesday's historic arguments on gay marriage.

As of now, gay marriage is legal in 36 states. By the end of this Supreme Court term, either same-sex couples will be able to wed in all 50 states, or gay marriage bans may be reinstituted in many of the states where they've previously been struck down.

Paul Sancya / Associated Press

Crowds gathered as the US Supreme Court prepared to arguments on whether same-sex marriage bans like Michigan’s violate the Constitution.

A line of people camped out for several days hoping to get into the historic arguments before the Supreme Court.

For April DeBoer, it’s been a bit longer.

Detroit suburb to consider banning drones

Apr 27, 2015
Don McCullough / Flickr Creative Commons

The City Council of Ferndale will discuss an ordinance tonight that would ban drones from the Detroit suburb's airspace. The proposed ban would not apply to law enforcement, and people would be able to fly drones over their own property.

The ordinance says unmanned drones raise privacy and public safety concerns. 

Bureau of Land Management

Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Friday afternoon the state agreed to settle its case against Chesapeake Energy. The allegations stem from an auction for drilling leases on state land.

In May 2010, one auction brought in $178 million, an incredibly huge record.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

A federal judge in Grand Rapids will not order the state of Michigan to immediately recognize the marriage of a gay couple from East Grand Rapids.

Brian Morgan and Bruce Merrucci got married in New York in 2013. A year ago they filed to jointly own their home. The Kent County clerk refused to change the deed because Michigan doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

Lawsuit: Michigan unemployment system wrongly fines claimants

Apr 22, 2015
Bytemarks / flickr

A legal advocacy group is suing Michigan's Unemployment Agency for using an automated system to determine whether a user has filed a fraudulent claim.

The Sugar Law Center says the system accuses users of fraud, and slaps them with fines without any human oversight.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth (Betty) Weaver has died. She was 74.

Weaver was twice elected as a Republican to the state’s highest court. But her later time on the bench was marked by frequent battles with other GOP justices over the court’s operations and what she said was excessive secrecy.

Weaver resigned from the court in the summer of 2010, which – to the chagrin of Republicans – allowed then-Governor Jennifer Granholm to name a Democrat to succeed her.  

Weaver lived in Leelanau County, where she served as a probate judge before she was elected to the state Court of Appeals. 

User southernfried / MorgueFile.com

Graduates of Michigan's drug, sobriety, and mental health courts are substantially less likely to commit another crime, according to a report recently released by the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Court spokesman John Nevin says problem-solving courts divert select non-violent offenders into intensive treatment and supervision for underlying problems like addiction and mental illness.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears legal arguments next week in the legal battle over same-sex marriage. It's an extraordinarily high-stakes clash, but the men and women at the center of it see themselves as incredibly ordinary. The 12 couples and two widowers include doctors, lawyers, an Army sergeant, nurses and teachers.

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