Law

Law
8:17 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Religious groups say 'The fight is on' over same-sex marriage

Rev. Stacy Swimp leads defenders of traditional marriage First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A coalition of about 200 mostly Michigan-based black pastors says “the fight is on” when it comes to same-sex marriage.

A federal judge overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage earlier this year. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has appealed that ruling, and it’s now headed to the US 6th Circuit court of appeals.

The pastors condemned the ruling in an event at First Baptist International World Changers church in Detroit Wednesday.

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Law
11:16 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Former Kent County Commissioner reaches plea deal with prosecutors in sex case

Gary Rolls (file photo)
Credit File photo / Kent County Sheriff

A former Kent County commissioner will be sentenced next month after pleading guilty this week to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors dropped four counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct against former Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls. He could’ve faced life in prison if convicted on those more serious charges.

Instead, Rolls pleaded guilty to a lesser charge plus illegal use of a computer and tampering with evidence.

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Law
5:05 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

New program to help families of Michigan prisoners

Credit Larry Farr / Morguefile

Helping prison officials and the families of prisoners communicate better is the goal of a pilot project at three Michigan prisons. So is providing support to the families of prisoners.

The privately funded Family Participation Program will partner with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

MDOC spokesperson Russ Marlan says it's hard for family members to negotiate the unfamiliar world of prisons. 

He said having an independent liaison for each prison will make it easier for family members to get their questions answered.

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Law
7:41 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Hearing Tuesday to explore “military style” tracking devices used by Oakland County Sheriff’s Office

State Rep. Tom McMillin (file photo)
Credit gophouse.org

Later this morning a legislative oversight committee will discuss a new secretive cell phone tracking device the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department is using.

Not much is known about the device.

It can reportedly trick nearby cell phones into providing data to the police. It can be helpful in tracking people, like missing children and fugitives, but it’s not clear how much more information is collected and what the sheriff’s department does with it.

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Law
8:05 pm
Sat May 10, 2014

2 cameras to monitor Father Marquette statue

The statue has been at its current site for about a century. It first was erected in Marquette in 1897.
Credit Einar Einarsson Kvaran/Flickr

MARQUETTE – Officials in Marquette have installed security cameras in hopes of preventing further vandalism of the Father Marquette statue in the Upper Peninsula city.

The Mining Journal of Marquette reports two cameras have been placed on the Lake Superior Community Partnership building along Front Street. The cameras cost $2,000.

The statue has been at its current site for about a century. It first was erected in Marquette in 1897.

Someone put red paint on the statue in November 2012. After several months of restoration, green paint was found on it last June.

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Law
7:50 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Lawsuit accuses Dearborn Police of assaulting mentally handicapped man

Ali Beydoun said he was assaulted by Dearborn police

A mentally handicapped Dearborn man plans to sue the city for alleged police brutality.

28-year-old Ali Beydoun was stopped by police while riding his bike home from his job as a dishwasher in December.

A dashcam video shows that an officer approaches him, and asks a few questions.

But when the officer tries to pat him down for weapons, Beydoun resists. He’s then wrestled to the ground and kicked by officers.

Beydoun’s lawyers say that same video shows officers used excessive force.

Attorney Amir Makled says it also should have been obvious to officers that his client is mentally disabled.

Makled says the situation was complicated by the fact that Beydoun only speaks limited English. His family emigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon six years ago.

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Law
10:50 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Lawsuit says U of M uses residency requirements to "discriminate" against immigrant students

Plaintiff Hussein Berry, right, and attorney Nabih Ayad.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

 A civil rights group says the University of Michigan is discriminating against students from immigrant families.

The Arab American Civil Rights League has filed a class action federal lawsuit against the school.

It claims the university wrongly classifies some students from immigrant backgrounds as out-of-state residents.

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Law
10:22 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Kashi settles class-action suit over All Natural

NEW YORK (AP) - Kellogg says it will no longer use the "All Natural" or "Nothing Artificial" labels on certain Kashi products as part of an agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit.

The company, based in Battle Creek, Michigan, says it will also pay $5 million to settle the suit.

In an emailed statement, Kellogg Co. says it stands by its advertising and labeling practices but that it would change its formulas or labels nationally by the end of the year.

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Stateside
4:42 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Michigan could be the first state to test for driving while under the influence of marijuana

Credit User Eljoja / Flickr

A package of bills before state lawmakers could make Michigan the very first state to adopt a roadside test that would tell police whether a driver is under the influence of marijuana.

Current law allows police to test the blood, breath and urine of drivers pulled over for erratic driving. The proposed legislation now being debated would add a roadside saliva test that could tell police if a driver is impaired by pot.

Cynthia Canty spoke with State Representative Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Twp., who sponsored the legislation. 

Law
4:41 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

A national crackdown on "designer" drugs includes arrests in Michigan

Credit www.retreat-lc.com

Michigan is part of a big national crackdown on illegal synthetic drug trafficking.

This week, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies arrested more than 150 people in more than two dozen states on charges they imported and sold illegal synthetic drugs. More than 20 of those arrests took place in southeast Michigan.

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Law
9:16 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Statewide teacher evaluations move forward in state Legislature

Credit User: ucentralarkansas / Flickr

Legislation that would create a statewide teacher evaluation system has cleared its first hurdle in the Michigan Legislature. A state House panel approved the bills Tuesday with bipartisan support.

A diverse coalition of Michigan education groups recently came out in support of the legislation. Supporters say that could help clear the way for the Legislature to approve the bills before lawmakers leave Lansing in June for two months.

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Law
4:36 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Criminal conviction check-off box to be removed from Ann Arbor city job applications

 

#155118225 / gettyimages.com

People seeking Ann Arbor city jobs will no longer need to disclose criminal convictions on their job application forms.

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Law
6:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

State unfolds evidence against energy giants this week in conspiracy case

Credit Wyoming Upper Green River Valley / Flickr

Today lawyers with Michigan’s Attorney General’s office will begin outlining the state’s case against energy giants Chesapeake Energy and Encana Oil & Gas USA.

The allegations stem from an auction for drilling leases on state land three years ago.

In May 2010 an auction of drilling leases brought in $178 million. That’s almost as much as all the revenue from all of Michigan’s leases of public land from 1929 to now, combined.

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Law
6:16 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Some Flint police officers are trading a desk for a patrol car

“I know we’ve made multiple arrests today,” Flint Police Chief James Tolbert said on Friday, “We’re getting people with warrants off the street…you’re serving multiple purposes all at the same time.”
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint police officers are getting out from behind a desk today and getting back on the street. 

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert calls it ”inside-out" – taking police officers who usually spend their day doing administrative work and putting them into a patrol car.

He says that adds nine to 18 more patrol cars on Flint streets at a time.

“I know we’ve made multiple arrests today,” Tolbert said on Friday. “We’re getting people with warrants off the street … you’re serving multiple purposes all at the same time.”

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Law
12:15 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

July trial scheduled in Renisha McBride shooting case

Renisha McBride.
Credit Family photo

DETROIT – A July trial is scheduled for a Detroit-area man who fatally shot an unarmed woman last fall on his porch.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Dana Hathaway on Wednesday set Theodore Wafer's trial for July 21. It's expected to last about three weeks.

A final conference is June 20.

Last week, Wayne County Circuit Chief Judge Pro Tem Timothy Kenny removed Judge Qiana Lillard from the case. Hathaway was drawn to take over.

There's no dispute that Wafer shot Renisha McBride in the face on Nov. 2 in Dearborn Heights. His lawyers insist he opened the front door and fired in self-defense, fearing that the drunken 19-year-old was trying to break into his home before dawn.

Prosecutors, however, say he should have called 911 and kept the door shut.

Law
5:41 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court ruling may help clear the air in Michigan

The court's 6-2 decision Tuesday means that a rule adopted by EPA in 2011 to limit emissions from plants in more than two-dozen Midwestern and Southern states, including Michigan, can take effect.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Clean air advocates in Michigan are cheering a U.S. Supreme Court decision that will allow stricter regulation of coal-fired power plants.

The high court decided this week to overturn a lower court ruling and allow the Environmental Protection Agency to slap new limits on pollution from power plants.

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Law
10:44 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Michigan gay marriage appeal will follow usual track

Credit user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

DETROIT – A federal appeals court won't give special treatment to Michigan's dispute over gay marriage.

The court says the state's appeal of a decision overturning a ban on same-sex marriage will follow the usual course. The case will be heard by a three-judge panel, probably later this year.

Attorney General Bill Schuette wanted the full court to leapfrog the panel and take the appeal. But there's no interest from judges at the Cincinnati-based court.

A brief order unanimously rejecting Schuette's request was filed Monday.

More than 300 same-sex couples were married in March after a Detroit federal judge said Michigan's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The appeals court has suspended the decision while the appeal is pending.

Law
10:58 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

State agriculture commission approves backyard livestock rule

Backyard livestock farmers can no longer automatically claim they’re protected under the state’s Right to Farm Act if their chickens, goats, and other livestock are in an area defined by the state as “primarily residential.”
Credit Susie Blackmon / Flickr

A state agriculture commission has adopted a new rule on livestock in residential areas. It gives local governments more authority to ban or regulate raising farm animals in backyards.

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Law
10:55 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Bill would define e-cigarettes as tobacco products in Michigan

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Efforts to keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of minors continue this week in Lansing. A state House panel will hold a hearing Tuesday morning on legislation that would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors.

The smokeless devices produce a nicotine-laced vapor, but do not contain any actual tobacco. The bipartisan bill would define e-cigarettes as tobacco products. But it would also exempt them from the state’s tobacco tax.

“It does not tax e-cigarettes and it does not limit adult use,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Gail Haines, R-Lake Angelus.

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Law
5:32 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

State Senate passes bill to protect gun owners’ “fundamental right" to privacy

Gun rights supporters at Grand Rapids City Hall in February 2014. (file photo)
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Some records about gun owners in Michigan would be shielded from the public under a bill that passed the state Senate Thursday. The bills had overwhelming bipartisan support. Only two state senators voted against the package.

If passed, the measure would change who can access information, like a person’s name and address, from pistol license applications and a database that tracks pistol histories.

Republican State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, introduced the bill to protect what he calls gun owners’ “fundamental right" to privacy.

“When it comes time for releasing information on gun ownership, we just believe that that deserves a different level of protection and it shouldn’t be public information,” Pavlov said.

The public and the press would lose that access, but police would not.

“If there’s suspicion of a crime that a gun was used in, those are all ways that you can access the system. So law enforcement, certainly they need it for law enforcement purposes. It’s not something that needs to be public information on the streets,” Pavlov said.

The bill comes in response to a New York state newspaper that published information about registered gun owners there. He wanted to prevent it from happening in Michigan.

The bill now heads to the state House.

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