Law

Law
3:03 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

New police program in Detroit proves effective

Credit www.flickr.com

Residents in Detroit's  Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood, on the city's northwest side, have been chatting up police officers more frequently for the past year.

In effort to cut down on crime, Detroit Police partnered with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research to create a new way to protect the neighborhoods in the area.

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Law
2:55 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Online lottery put on hold in Michigan

Credit flickr.com

Michigan residents will have to wait to gamble in the lottery online. iLottery, proposed by the Michigan Lottery, would have allowed people to buy tickets and play games like Club Keno and scratch-offs right from their computer.

However, that plan is no more. Gov. Rick Snyder approved the state budget that did not include the new gambling tool.

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Law
11:32 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Michigan judicial agency wants to add, cut judges

Proposed changes to Michigan's court system.
Credit Michigan State Court Administrative Office

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The agency that oversees Michigan's court system wants to add more judges in Macomb, Oakland and Kent counties while eliminating some judicial posts in Wayne County and elsewhere.

The recommendations based on workload were released today. Any changes require approval by lawmakers.

The State Court Administrative Office recommends four additional Circuit Court judges in Macomb County and two more in Oakland County. In the Grand Rapids area, the agency recommends another Circuit Court judge and a District Court judge.

On the other side of the scale, lawmakers are being asked to cut four judges in Wayne County Circuit Court and one District Court judge each in Berrien, Delta and Saginaw counties. The report also recommends cutting a judge in the District Court that serves Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties.

Law
5:18 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Understanding how today's Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage could affect Michigan

From the rally outside the Supreme Court.
Aimee Hechler imgur.com

Update 4:30 p.m.

Earlier this month, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez - a gay couple in Michigan and the parents of two-year-old Lucas. The two were legally married in Washington D.C. last December, but they live in Michigan - a state that doesn't recognize their union:

"...it is very difficult for us to be in a two-parent family and not have that recognized."

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Law
4:06 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Gov. Snyder appoints an emergency manager in Hamtramck, Flint EM replacement also announced

Cathy Square
Department of Treasury

The city of Hamtramck will once again be under state control.

The Department of Treasury announced Governor Rick Snyder's appointment of an emergency manager for the city of Hamtramck.

Gov. Snyder selected Pontiac City Administrator Cathy Square. She will assume the position on July 1, 2013. 

According to a press release from the Treasury, Hamtramck City Council waived its right to appeal the finding of a financial emergency and unanimously supported the appointment of an EM by the Governor. 

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Law
4:28 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Why townships in Michigan were subject to the Voting Rights Act

The language used on ballots in some areas was covered by the Voting Rights Act.
Flickr

As Rick Pluta reported earlier, two Michigan townships could be affected by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act announced today.

The Voting Rights Act requires that the federal government approve any changes to voting procedures in areas with a history of discrimination.

In Michigan, Buena Vista Township and Clyde Township were both required to submit any proposed changes to their voting rules to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Voting Rights Act covered areas where more than 5% of the population spoke a language other than English. In these areas, bilingual ballots were required. Both Buena Vista Townships and Clyde Townships had Hispanic populations above 5%.

An English-only ballot in these places was considered to be a discriminatory 'device', according to the The New York Times.

Zane McMillin of MLive reports on some of the requirements Clyde Township had to follow:

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Law
3:04 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Michigan case could be the next affirmative action test for US Supreme Court

Affirmative Action protest on the Univesity of Michigan campus (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s state constitutional amendment barring racial preferences in university admissions and other public institutions might be the next major case dealing with affirmative action laws in the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided today not to decide a Texas affirmative action case where a white student challenged the University of Texas’s admission policy that includes race as one of its deciding factors. 

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Law
12:00 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Supreme Court to hear case which directly affects Panera Bread workers in Michigan

Last Friday, union picketers walked the line outside a Panera Bread outlet in Kalamazoo
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a dispute between President Obama and congressional Republicans which is directly affecting the lives of Michigan workers.

At issue is the president’s authority to make "recess" appointments.

Recess appointments are made when the president fills a governmental position while the Congress is in recess.

In this case, President Obama filled three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board without getting his appointees confirmed by Congress.

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Law
11:05 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Proposed changes to Michigan’s home foreclosure laws allow unannounced inspections

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Housing advocates are asking Governor Rick Snyder to veto a package of bills that would change home foreclosure rules.

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Law
11:52 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Judge dismisses lawsuit over Flint's city water rates

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An effort to roll back Flint’s recent spike in water and sewer rates has failed.

On Friday, a Genesee County Circuit Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against the city of Flint.

Flint's city council president sued, after the mayor, then later the state appointed emergency manger, increased city water and sewer rates. The increases effectively doubled the rate for city water customers

City leaders claim the rate increase was needed to pay for rising water system expenses.

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Law
8:55 am
Fri June 21, 2013

'Thrill seekers' in emergency situations would pay for their own rescue under new bills

Jetskiiers on the flooded Grand River this past April.
YouTube

People who need to be rescued after taking part in “reckless” behavior during emergencies would be fined under bills introduced in the state house this week.

Emergency responders had to rescue several people who tried to kayak down fast-moving, swollen rivers during record flooding this spring in Michigan. Officials repeatedly warned people to stay out of the waters.

There’s this video online with four guys on jet skis during the record flood of the Grand River this spring. They jump over flooded playground equipment; duck real low to fit under bridges. It looked like a lot fun, but it’s probably not the brightest idea safety-wise.

State Representative Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) says emergency responders had enough on their plate at that time.

“We want to make sure that their lives aren’t put unnecessarily in jeopardy by going to have to rescue somebody who is doing thrill-seeking behavior or acting in an extremely reckless manner,” Dillon said.

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Law
1:13 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

No Hoffa: FBI officials call off search for Teamsters boss

An above-ground Jimmy Hoffa.
WEWS-TV YouTube

A search for ex-Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa was called off this afternoon, Joseph Lichterman of Reuters reported. 

On Monday, authorities from the FBI began digging in Oakland Township, MI in search of Hoffa's body. Anthony Zerrili, an 85-year-old alleged mobster tipped off the agency, saying that Hoffa had been hit with a shovel and buried alive in a field near Detroit. 

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Stateside
5:04 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Why do we still care about finding Jimmy Hoffa?

WEWS-TV YouTube

An interview with Jack Lessenberry.

Here we go again.

The backhoe has been working away in a Michigan field surrounded by news trucks, satellite trucks and the breathless attention of local, national, and even overseas reporters.

It's yet another search for Jimmy Hoffa.

Federal agents revived the hunt for the remains of the Teamster president this week, bringing heavy excavation equipment to a field in Oakland Township, north of Detroit.

This time, the tip comes from an aging reputed Mafia captain.

Mr. Hoffa was supposed to be meeting with a New Jersey teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia boss when he vanished in the summer of 1975 from a Detroit-area restaurant.

So 38 years later, why does anyone still care about where Jimmy Hoffa's body is buried? 

Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Law
4:37 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

The dig continues in hopes of finding Jimmy Hoffa

WEWS-TV YouTube

Update 6/19: 

The search is over, Reuters reported this afternoon. FBI officials left the field in Oakland Township without a body.  

Update 4:25 p.m.:

Detroit News reporter Tony Briscoe is tweeting live from the dig.

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Law
4:22 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Judge declares a mistrial in the Aiyana Stanley-Jones case

Aiyana Stanley- Jones was seven-years-old when Officer Joseph Weekley shot her
user: 4WardEver UK Flickr

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway said today the trial of Detroit Police officer Joseph Weekley ended with a hung jury.

Weekly was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of seven year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in 2010.

According to Elisha Anderson of the Detroit Free Press, the jurors sent a note to Hathaway earlier today as they deliberated, saying there was no "significant movement." The jury was "stuck."

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Law
1:28 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Authorities searching for Jimmy Hoffa's body in northern Oakland Co.

Here we go again. There are choppers flying over filming the dig this time. From WXYZ TV:

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Law
11:34 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Deliberations continue today in Aiyana Stanley-Jones case

Joseph Weekley is facing a felony charge of 'invonluntary manslaughter' for the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones.
WXYZ YouTube screenshot

DETROIT (AP) — A jury has resumed deliberations in the trial of a Detroit police officer blamed for the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl.

The jury met for about five hours Friday before going home for the weekend. Deliberations started again Monday around 9:30 a.m. in Wayne County court.

Joseph Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot in the head while she slept on a couch near the front door of a Detroit home. Weekley was leading a pack of officers into the home to search for a murder suspect in 2010.

Weekley claims he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana's grandmother struck his gun. Mertilla Jones denies any interference.

The jury could acquit Weekley or convict him of a lesser crime.

Law
4:17 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Michigan ACLU declares Ann Arbor Public Schools' decision 'unconstitutional'

The ACLU of Michigan declared AAPS proposal unconstitutional
Slightly North/Flickr

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said that Ann Arbor Public Schools' decision to charge students $100 per semester to take a seventh hour class is illegal, because it violates the State Constitution.

The ACLU's press release cited the Michigan Constitution, which  says that "the Legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law."

It continued:

In Bond v Ann Arbor School District, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the guarantee of free public education extends to any school district activity that is considered a "necessary element of any school's activity" or an "integral fundamental part of the elementary and secondary education."

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Law
4:06 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Michigan AG says state law protects DIA assets from bankruptcy sale

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Maia C/Flickr

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has released a legal opinion that says the collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts cannot be sold if the city goes into bankruptcy.

The opinion was issued in response to a request by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

The opinion says the assets owned by the Detroit Institute of Art are held in a public trust for the people of Michigan, and cannot be used to pay off the city's debts. Schuette says in the opinion, "In Michigan, we not only appreciate our cultural treasures, we guard them zealously."

Detroit has $15.6 billion dollars in long-term liabilities, and emergency manager Kevyn Orr will need to take some drastic measures to pay those debts.

Kevyn Orr -- who is a bankruptcy attorney and turnaround expert -- is in the middle of negotiating a debt reduction plan with the city's creditors. He has said there are no guarantees the DIA's assets would be off the table in the event of a bankruptcy.

Law
8:53 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Jury to decide fate of Detroit cop who shot Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Jurors will get instructions from a judge and then start deliberations in the trial of a Detroit police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl.

Joseph Weekley told jurors Thursday that he wasn't reckless when he accidentally fired his gun during a raid, killing Aiyana Stanley-Jones three years ago. He says he was struggling with Aiyana's grandmother over the gun.

The jury is returning to court Friday. Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony, but the jury also can consider it a misdemeanor crime.

Prosecutor Rob Moran says there was no interference from grandmother Mertilla Jones. But defense attorney Steve Fishman says Jones has no credibility because she's told different stories about what happened.

Aiyana was killed when police raided a house to capture a murder suspect.

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