Law

Law
12:30 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Music duo Insane Clown Posse loses gang lawsuit

Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos and identified by their grease facepaint, have been accused by the FBI of gang activity.
Credit Jen Sadler / flickr

DETROIT - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit aimed at scrubbing an FBI report that describes fans of the rap-metal duo Insane Clown Posse as a loosely organized gang.

Detroit federal Judge Robert Cleland says the government isn't responsible for acts by local police agencies that use the 2011 report.

Fans of Insane Clown Posse are known as Juggalos. The FBI report labels the Juggalos as a "loosely organized hybrid gang," although that description isn't part of the most recent national report on gangs.

Juggalos say their reputations have suffered because they have jewelry or tattoos with the group's symbol, a man running with a hatchet.

The lawsuit was dismissed last week. The Insane Clown Posse is Joseph Bruce, known as Violent J, and Joseph Utsler, known as Shaggy 2 Dope.

Law
4:31 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Protests Monday night against migrant children coming to Michigan

Credit via Center for American Progress

UPDATE 10:49 PM 

Some 75 protestors and several police officers filled the front lawn of Vassar's city hall Monday evening.  

Even though officials say these kids would stay in the juvenile camp for housing and school while they're going through the asylum, or more likely, the deportation process, lots of people expressed concern about what it would mean for the town. 

"More crime," said Josh Barnes, of Vassar, when asked why he was worried enough to come out and protest.

Read more
Law
11:11 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Michigan man with odd sentence stuck with life in prison

Leon Echols was convicted of second-degree murder in 1989 for shooting a man in a dispute over a used car. He says it was self-defense.
Credit Michigan Department of Corrections

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Leon Echols has spent his adult years in Michigan prisons for killing a man when he was 18. He's not eligible for parole until he's in his 80s, but he's been trying to convince authorities that his punishment doesn't fit the crime.  

Echols was convicted of second-degree murder in 1989 for shooting a man in a dispute over a used car. He says it was self-defense.

Read more
Law
4:34 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

More Michigan cities will vote on decriminalizing pot

That's a lot of pot.
Credit Prarie Plant Systems

In Berkley, activists say they've now turned in enough signatures to put decriminalization on the local ballot this fall. 

The city clerk says they'll know whether or not the signatures are valid by Thursday.  

Berkley is just the latest city to consider the issue.

Similar proposals are already on the August primary ballots in Oak Park and Hazel Park.

And the group behind the petitions, the Safer Michigan Coalition, says it plans to turn in another petition in Saginaw next week. 

Read more
Law
6:00 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Michigan company's legal fight against Obamacare goes on

The U.S> Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan company’s legal fight against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception requirement will likely continue, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in a similar case Monday.

The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. 

Read more
Law
3:54 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Little fallout expected from landmark ruling on cell phones and police in Michigan

The nation’s highest court ruled that police need a warrant to search a criminal suspect’s mobile phone.

Michigan police officers and defense attorneys don’t expect much to change in the state after a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a privacy case.

The nation’s highest court ruled that police need a warrant to search a criminal suspect’s mobile phone.

Read more
Law
6:00 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Detroit judge agrees to city tour, but asks for security precautions

Credit Sam Beebe

The judge in charge of Detroit’s bankruptcy case tentatively agreed Thursday to tour parts of the city—despite concerns about his safety.

City lawyers have been pushing Judge Steven Rhodes to take a city bus tour for some time now.

They say the judge needs to see the conditions in Detroit neighborhoods firsthand, to help him make informed decisions in the case.

Read more
Law
4:12 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Stepparent adoption not possible in joint-custody case

Credit Michigan Supreme Court

Stepparent adoption just became more difficult in the state of Michigan.

The Michigan Supreme Court has upheld a state law that says a stepparent cannot adopt a child if the biological parents share joint custody.

In the decision, Justice Brian Zahra wrote that stepparents wanting to do so would have to be married to a spouse with sole legal custody of the child. That means going back to court and petitioning for sole custody before the stepparent can adopt. 

Debra Keehn is a family law attorney in Ann Arbor. She said the added legal step is going to make adoption more difficult for families.
 
"All of that takes a lot of time and a lot of money and it puts a big financial burden, I think, on a family who’s trying to increase the security of a child."
 
The court ruled in the case of a couple who divorced in 2009.

The mother remarried a year later and petitioned to have her new husband adopt her child. She argued that the child's father had not made contact or sent any money in over two years. But the ruling said she would have to petition a court for sole custody of her child before her new husband could adopt.

The court's decision was unanimous.

– Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Law
5:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Government seeks dismissal of Juggalos suit

Juggalos say they've been unfairly targeted by law enforcement as a result of the FBI's "hybrid criminal gang" designation
Credit Cameron Blaylock / Flickr

The government is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims fans of the band Insane Clown Posse have been unfairly labeled a criminal gang.

The FBI in 2011 put out a report that cited crimes committed by the rap duo's fans, known as Juggalos.

Read more
Law
8:22 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Judge orders break in sailor's child custody case

ADRIAN, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan judge has called a time-out in a child custody dispute involving a sailor aboard a U.S. submarine.

Lenawee County Judge Margaret Noe released an order Sunday, delaying some matters until at least Oct. 22.

Read more
Law
7:40 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Schuette jumps into court fight over access to Detroit retirees' personal finance data

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is jumping in the fight to prevent one of Detroit’s major creditors from accessing the personal financial records of city retirees.

Bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc. is on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars if Detroit’s plan for exiting bankruptcy moves forward.

Read more
Law
10:55 am
Fri June 20, 2014

ACLU says Detroit fireworks curfew may be unconstitutional

Detroit youth face a 6:00 p.m. curfew on June 23, the day the city holds its annual Independence Day fireworks celebration.
Credit morguefile.com

For the third year in a row, Detroit has set a six p.m. curfew for minors under age 18 on the night the city has its annual Independence Day fireworks.

The fireworks are scheduled for the evening of June 23rd.

This time, the ACLU of Michigan is objecting to the curfew.

Attorney Michael Steinberg says the curfew is too broad and is likely unconstitutional.

He says the city has a legitimate interest in preventing crime and other incidents at the popular event --

Read more
Law
7:58 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Report: Detroit's elected leaders need policies for future "non-official" interactions with police

The City of Detroit Office of Inspector General says there is ‘Insufficient evidence” that Councilman George Cushingberry abused his position during a January traffic stop.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s elected leaders are being advised to come up with a policy for how to deal with “non-official” interactions with city police officers, after a stop involving a Detroit city councilman.

Last January, Detroit city councilman George Cushingberry's was stopped by a city police officer.

There was marijuana and an empty alcohol bottle in the car. A passenger in the car was a medical marijuana patient and Cushingberry was not given a sobriety test.

Cushingberry entered a guilty plea in March to driving above the speed limit.

Read more
Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Proposal would overturn law requiring Michigan women to buy abortion coverage

Credit Sean Marshall / flickr

It was during the lame-duck session late last year when the state Legislature passed a law blocking insurers from paying for abortions as part of general coverage in company health care plans.

Under the law, women would have to buy extra coverage for an abortion, even in cases of rape or when the woman's life is in danger.

The law was passed without a public hearing on the basis of petitions that had been circulated by Right To Life of Michigan. It took effect in March.

Now two lawmakers are trying to get that law overturned. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, will introduce the measure in the Senate while Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, will do so in the House.

Read more
Law
10:40 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Judges can't order convicts to pay court costs in all cases

Judges may not impose court costs on all persons convicted of a crime, says Michigan Supreme Court.
Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court says judges can’t order people convicted of a crime to pay the costs to the legal system – unless it’s been specifically allowed by the Legislature.
   
It’s been routine in Michigan for judges to order defendants to pay prosecution and court costs as a part of sentencing.

In this case, Frederick Cunningham was convicted in Allegan County of a prescription drug offense. The judge ordered Cunningham to pay $1,000 in unspecified “court costs.” But Michigan’s prescription drug law doesn’t mention court costs.

Read more
Law
6:16 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Democrats sponsor bill to roll back abortion insurance law

A law that requires women to purchase a separate insurance policy to cover abortions remains controversial.
Credit user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Democrats in the state Legislature have rolled out a bill to repeal the state’s petition-initiated law that requires people who want abortion coverage to buy a separate insurance policy. They acknowledge they don’t have the votes to repeal the law that was approved just last year by the Legislature. They say they’re hoping to open a public conversation on the law and its effects.

Read more
Law
9:48 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Michigan Senate leader says he’s on board with medical marijuana bills

Credit User Eljoja / Flickr

The top lawmaker in the state Senate says he’s now on board with legislation to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, is now also embracing a bill that would allow state-certified patients to use edible and other non-smokable forms of marijuana.

Richardville was not a fan of the legislation when the state House approved it late last year. But he says that has changed as he’s heard more from supporters of the bills.

“This is for well-meaning people and it’s all for medical purposes. And [patients and caregivers] came and gave some moving testimony,” said Richardville.

“There’s so much to learn about that topic, and I didn’t know a lot about it. And I didn’t realize how difficult smoking is for some people and the different ingestion techniques that are important to them.”

Supporters of House Bill 4271 say dispensaries allow people to get treatment right away, instead of having to wait for a caregiver to grow and cultivate marijuana. They say that process can take months. Patients with certain diseases, such as cancer, sometimes don’t live long enough to get the benefits of medical marijuana.

A number of state Supreme Court rulings in recent years have made it impossible for dispensaries to operate the way they did when Michigan voters first approved the state’s Medical Marijuana Act in 2008.

Advocates say House Bill 5104 is also necessary because a recent Michigan Court of Appeals ruling limited legal medical marijuana use to smokable forms. They say children and people with respiratory illnesses should not be forced to smoke cannabis. Products like candies, lotions, and oils can produce unique benefits and some don’t produce a “high” effect, according to patients and caregivers.

Richardville chairs the Senate Government Operations Committee, where the bills sit now. He expects to move the bills to the Senate floor over the summer. He says a vote in the full state Senate could come as early as September.

Law
4:00 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Lawmakers make another attempt to regulate “large scale” dog breeders

Credit static416 / Creative Commons

A bill that’s working its way through the state House would make large-scale dog breeders register with the state. “Large scale” would be any breeder with 15 or more female dogs used for breeding puppies.

Read more
Law
6:12 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

State lawmaker, ACLU want details on new police surveillance device

The Obama administration is telling local police not to disclose details about powerful new surveillance devices they obtained from the federal government.

That's according to the Associated Press.

The devices were developed to monitor enemy cell phone communications on the battlefield. 

Now, the devices, known by the nicknames, "Hailstorm," and "Stingray," are being used as a domestic law enforcement tool.   

Read more
Law
6:44 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Michigan Supreme Court takes two more medical marijuana cases

Credit USFWS

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear two more medical marijuana cases. Two medical marijuana cardholders want the state’s highest court to rule that a voter-approved law shields them from criminal charges.

In both cases, the defendants say the fact that they have medical marijuana cards should protect them from prosecution even if they did not abide by the letter of the law.

In one case, a cardholder who was also allowed to provide marijuana to two patients was charged after he sold pot to an undercover police officer posing as a patient. In the other case, the cardholder had more marijuana than he needed for his patients, and the plants were not kept in a separate locked location.

They both say the medical marijuana law offers sweeping protections to state-issued cardholders from criminal charges. Michigan’s medical marijuana statute was approved by an overwhelming majority of the state’s voters in 2008. More than 130 thousand Michigan residents have registered for cards. 

Pages