Law

Law
12:21 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

How old is too old to be a judge?

This woman is too old to be a judge: former Justice Marilyn Kelly was forced to step down.
http://www.courts.mi.gov/courts/michigansupremecourt/ Michigan Courts

You know how they say 40 is the new 30? According to Michigan's Constitution, 70 is the new senile. 

If you're over the age of 70, you can't be elected or appointed to the bench in this state.

That's a rule that dates back to 1906, according to former Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly, when life expectancies were shorter.

For Kelly, a Democrat, the law means she had to step down when her term ended in January. She's 74. Asked how it feels to be too old to do her job, she laughs.

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Law
10:20 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Feds indict ex-Detroit Public Library contractor

Detroit Public Library
Detroit Public Library

DETROIT (AP) - Federal authorities have accused a former contractor with the Detroit Public Library of bribery in an effort to win a $1.5 million contract.

James Henley was indicted Thursday on charges he bribed a library official in 2007 and 2008. He also has been charged with failing to file tax returns for those years.

Officials say Henley created a company to obtain an information technology contract. The indictment says an unnamed official helped the company win the contract and Henley secretly paid $600,000 in kickbacks to the library official.

The Associated Press left phone and email messages Friday for Henley.

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Law
5:32 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Drunk and near a gun, Michigan court says that's OK

"Open carry" dinner held in Detroit
user westsideshooter Flickr

A gun charge filed against former state House Speaker Craig DeRoche has been dismissed.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled a charge of possessing a firearm while intoxicated violated his Second Amendment rights.
    
DeRoche was charged with being drunk while possessing a firearm in the summer of 2010.

His mother-in-law told police he had locked himself in one of his children’s bedrooms with a 40-caliber-handgun. But, by the time police arrived, she had already taken the gun and hidden it.
    
DeRoche challenged the criminal charge as a violation of his Second Amendment rights.

The Court of Appeals agreed and said, since the gun had been moved away from him to another part of the house, he was only near the firearm – not in possession of it.

The court decision says to rule otherwise would be too restrictive – essentially, people in a residence with a firearm anywhere in it could not consume alcohol.
    
DeRoche served as the state House Republican leader from 2005 to 2008. He says he has quit drinking.

Law
3:41 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Judge opens door for Michigan juvenile lifers

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws that allow juveniles to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
US Supreme Court

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge says all Michigan inmates serving no-parole sentences for murder committed as juveniles are entitled to a chance at release.
 
Judge John Corbett O'Meara says a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down mandatory no-parole sentences applies retroactively to Michigan inmates already behind bars.

O'Meara's decision Wednesday trumps a ruling last fall by the Michigan appeals court, which said retroactivity would not apply for most.

Law
11:30 am
Wed January 30, 2013

I-96 shooter suspect found competent to stand trial

Raulie Casteel is accused of a series of shootings along I-96 last October.
Livingston County Sheriff's Department

For 11 days in October, people along the I-96 corridor were on high alert as motorists experienced a rash of shootings. Remarkably 0nly one person was wounded.

Police nabbed the man they say was responsible for the shootings, and today 43 year-old Raulie Casteel was found to be fit to stand trial in Livingston Co.

Casteel faces a separate set of charges in Oakland County, and the Attorney General's office brought a terrorism charge against him.

Casteel's defense lawyers say he is college-educated with no criminal history.

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Law
11:30 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway pleads guilty to bank fraud

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway.
michigan.gov

Update 11:30 a.m.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway stood in front of federal judge this morning and plead guilty to felony bank fraud charges. More from the Detroit Free Press:

Hathaway stood quietly at a podium in U.S District Court in Ann Arbor this morning, acknowledging she intentionally defrauded a federally-insured financial institution when she short-sold her Grosse Pointe Park home.

According to an agreement negotiated with the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, her punishment is limited to up to 18 months behind bars or could be as little as 4-10 months if a pre-sentence report determines there was no actual financial loss.

“Yes your honor, I agree,” Hathaway said to Eastern District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara.

She is scheduled to be sentenced in May. The Detroit News reports that Hathaway's attorney, Steve Fishman, is likely to argue that her actions did not harm the bank:

Fishman has previously said Hathaway and her husband, attorney Michael Kingsley, saved the bank $150,000 by negotiating a short sale of their home rather then letting it be sold at a foreclosure auction.

But prosecutors have tripped up Hathaway on a fraud charge because she and Kingsley transferred a posh second home in Windermere, Fla., valued at $664,000, to one of Kingsley's daughters while applying for the short sale — and then got the house back after selling the Grosse Pointe Park home.

During the short sale process, in 2010 and 2011, Hathaway also acquired two other homes in Grosse Pointe Park on Windmill Pointe and Balfour Street and transferred them to her stepchildren. Hathaway's stepdaughter, Sarah Kingsley, transferred the Balfour Street back to Hathaway after the short sale of the home on Lakeview Court, public records show.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade plans to hold a press conference this afternoon to talk about the Hathaway case.

10:45 a.m.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is due in federal court today for an anticipated guilty plea to bank fraud. More from the Associated Press:

Hathaway is accused of concealing assets while trying to persuade a bank that she needed a short sale. That was to get rid of a Grosse Pointe Park home that carried a big mortgage.

Her hearing is set for today in Ann Arbor federal court.

Hathaway was charged Jan. 18, three days before she left the Supreme Court because of the scandal.

She and her husband transferred a debt-free Florida home to a relative before the 2011 sale of their Detroit-area home. After the short sale went through, the Florida property went back in their names.

Hathaway was elected to the Supreme Court in 2008.

Law
11:54 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Federal court website in Detroit may (or may not) be the latest victim of 'hacktivists'

Anonymous is a group of internet activitists who oppose censorship and other governmental intrusions on the web.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal court website in Detroit may be the latest victim of a hacking campaign by online activists.

The group, Anonymous,  has claimed responsibility for several attacks on government websites. The group is opposed to online censorship and other government intrusions.

Rod Hansen is the spokesman for the eastern district court. He says technicians are checking the Eastern District of Michigan's U-S Probation Office website, after media reports that hackers installed a destructive ‘video game’ on the website.

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Law
11:10 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick back in jail this weekend

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (file photo)
Michigan Radio Newsroom

DETROIT (AP) - Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is behind bars for the weekend for violating parole in a 2008 conviction that bounced him from office.

Kilpatrick reported to a Michigan Corrections Department facility in Detroit on Friday afternoon. He'll remain locked up there until Monday when he returns to federal court where he's on trial in a separate matter.

His dinner choices are baked fish or bean patty.

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Law
11:14 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Governor Snyder not convinced gun laws an efficient use of state lawmakers’ time

Gun rights supporters rally in Lansing in January 2013.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder is weighing in on the debate over guns laws going on at the state Capitol. There are a number of new bills related to guns pending. Snyder was asked if he supports any of the proposed changes at events in Grand Rapids Friday.

Not to downplay the importance of gun rights or guns laws, but Governor Snyder just doesn’t think guns in general have a big part in his plan to “reinvent Michigan.” He says lawmakers in Lansing should let the debate over gun control run its course at the federal level first.

“In the meantime we could get a lot done on jobs, infrastructure, education; a lot of important topics. So I would prefer we stay on those topics,” Snyder said.

Snyder says he would consider improvements to the state's mental health system before focusing on changes to its gun laws.

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Breaking
5:13 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Four police officers from Highland Park to be charged for corruption

Just call him “Big Dog.”

That’s allegedly how Highland Park police officer Price Montgomery prefers to be addressed, at least when he’s soliciting $10,000 bribes, or trafficking drugs while wearing his firearm and police badge.

At a press conference Friday morning, the FBI broke the news that it’s arrested four Highland Park police officers, including Montgomery.

They’re in custody and being charged with armed drug trafficking and taking bribes. If convicted, they could face up to 55 years in prison.

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Law
5:05 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

With restraining order lifted, Grand Rapids can decriminalize marijuana… for now

Protestors circle the Kent County Prosecutor's office building in December.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids will work to put a new charter amendment in place that decriminalizes marijuana, now that a Kent County judge today lifted a temporary restraining order preventing implementation.

City residents voted overwhelmingly for the amendment in November. Under the charter amendment people who get busted with a little pot in Grand Rapids would just pay a fine.

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Law
3:03 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Former justice Diane Hathaway will face bank fraud charge next week

michigan.gov

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway will face a federal bank fraud charge in a United States District Court in Ann Arbor next Tuesday.

The charge was filed as criminal “information,” meaning Hathaway has negotiated with prosecutors and is likely to plead guilty, the Detroit News reports.

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Law
5:31 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Lawsuit alleges racial profiling, unlawful arrest at Detroit Metro airport

Shoshana Hebshi
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An Ohio woman who was arrested and strip searched at Detroit Metro Airport says her constitutional rights were violated.

The Michigan ACLU has now filed a federal lawsuit on Shoshanna Hebshi’s behalf.

Flying from California to Detroit on September 11, 2011, Hebshi says she was seated next to two men she didn’t know or speak to during the flight.

Those men were accused of behaving suspiciously during the flight. When they landed at Metro, Hebshi and the two men were arrested.

“I can only gather that I was targeted and forced at gunpoint off that
plane, handcuffed, and taken into custody for hours because of my ethnic name, and an arbitrary seat assignment,” said Hebshi, who is of
mixed Saudi Arabian and Eastern European-Jewish descent.

Hebshi and the ACLU are now suing federal agencies, airport officials
and Frontier Airlines. They allege her story is an example of
unconstitutional racial discrimination leading to false arrest and
imprisonment.

“I’m extremely concerned about my children growing up in a country
where your skin color and name can put your rights at risk,” Hebshi
said.

ACLU attorney Sarah Mehta says there have been a number of lawsuits
alleging racial discrimination against airlines since the September
11th, 2001 attacks.

“Generally, though, those claims have been about people being pulled off of planes for suspicious activity,” Mehta said. “What is unique about our client is that there are no allegations whatsoever about her involvement in anything suspicious.”

Hebshi is seeking monetary damages, and the court’s declaration that
her constitutional rights were violated.

Law
3:28 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Federal judge will hear arguments over Lansing's proposed downtown casino

Artist's conception of proposed Kewadin Lansing casino
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Grand Rapids will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that may determine if Lansing will get a downtown casino.

A year ago, the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced plans to build a casino that would wrap around Lansing’s downtown convention center.   The plan included the construction of a temporary casino along Michigan Ave.  

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Law
5:12 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Commissioners discuss tobacco ban in Ironwood city parks

justcola morguefile

The city of Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula could soon join a handful of Michigan cities that ban smoking in city parks.

On Monday, city commissioners met to discuss a proposal that would ban all tobacco use in Ironwood city parks.

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Law
10:46 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Judge urges settlement in migrant housing dispute

Tree planters. Photo by SPLC. wilpf.org

DOWAGIAC, Mich. (AP) - A federal judge is urging the government and a southwestern Michigan farm to settle a lawsuit over housing for migrant workers.

The Labor Department accuses Berrybrook Enterprises and owner Joe Hassle Sr. of failing to meet a number of conditions, including adequate water, screens and rodent control. The farm signed an agreement in 2010 to improve housing for migrant workers.

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Law
12:07 am
Tue January 15, 2013

A "shocking" murder in Flint raises hope the public will get involved in stopping violent crime

Flint, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Community organizers hope the murder of a man at a Flint church will convince more people to turn out for a meeting tonight on gun violence.

Flint mayor Dayne Walling describes Saturday’s murder as “shocking."   The murder occurred while the funeral for another murder victim was taking place at the church.

Walling says city and religious leaders have been trying to reduce Flint’s violent crime rate by working directly with city residents.

“Every person’s life that we can turn around is one less perpetrator of violence on our streets,” says Walling. 

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Law
11:53 am
Sat January 12, 2013

State probing other cash sent to ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

Kwame Kilpatrick (file photo)
Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been told to give up the names of people who wired him $4,000 he failed to disclose to the state.

Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan told The Detroit News Friday that Kilpatrick didn't tell officials about the money until Thursday - the same day he was fitted with an electronic tether for not disclosing another $2,000 sent last month from a Chicago pastor.

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Law
10:39 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Grand Rapids pastor calls for end to killings

Grand Rapids, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Grand Rapids pastor is calling on city residents to step up and play a role in reducing violence in the city.

Clifton Rhodes Junior's comments Friday came in the wake of eight killings in Grand Rapids over the past month.

At a news conference at police headquarters, Rhodes said: "Our hearts are bleeding right now."

Rhodes is the pastor at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. He says clergy, police, business leaders and social-service leaders must work together to find solutions to the problem.

Law
10:33 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick ordered to wear tether, live with mom

Kwame Kilpatrick (file photo)
Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan prison officials have ordered ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to wear an electronic tether and live with his mother while they investigate his receipt of an unreported $2,000 gift from a Chicago pastor.

He's on parole for a 2008 state conviction for obstruction of justice and could be sent back to prison. He's now on trial on federal corruption charges.

Kilpatrick owes $800,000 to Detroit and must report his income.

He received a $2,000 wire transfer in December from the Rev. Corey Brooks of New Beginnings Church.

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