Law

Law
12:21 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court opens session with no-fault, medical marijuana cases

The Michigan Supreme Court opens its 2012 session this week.
Subterranean Flickr

The Michigan Supreme Court formally opens its 2012 session this week.

Its first cases deal with no-fault insurance benefits, Michigan’s open meetings law, and medical marijuana.      

The first arguments of the court’s session will be on the case of a woman who wants her auto no-fault coverage to pay for her treatments for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

She was diagnosed after witnessing her son’s death in a motorcycle accident. She was following him in her car when he was struck by another vehicle.

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Crime
10:07 am
Fri October 5, 2012

No more trials for Michigan serial stabbing suspect

Mug shot of Elias Abuelazam
Arlington, Virginia Police Department

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A man charged in a series of stabbings in a Michigan city in 2010 will face no additional trials unless his first murder conviction is overturned on appeal.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says two murder cases and six attempted murder cases will be suspended against Elias Abuelazam. The action was disclosed Friday at a court in Flint.

Leyton says additional trials would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Abuelazam, a native of Israel, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole after a first murder trial last spring.

People convicted of first-degree murder in Michigan are automatically entitled to an appeal. Abuelazam's is in the early stages.

Abuelazam defense attorney Ed Zeineh called the prosecutor's decision appropriate.

An attempted murder case is pending in Ohio.

Law
1:14 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

M-22: Who owns the rights to road signs in Michigan?

Broneah Inc.'s trademark on the M-22 highway route marker.
USPTO

Several weeks ago I posted on the debate taking place over the trademark owned by brothers Matt and Keegan Myers.

They've captured the love people have for northwest Michigan and Leelanau County with their M-22 business.

M-22 has been a success, but they've also been working to keep others from selling stuff emblazoned with a Michigan state road sign symbol.

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Law
11:13 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Detroit Crime Commission gets $1 million to fight crime on east side

DETROIT (AP) — The new Detroit Crime Commission is getting a $1 million federal grant to help fight crime on the city's east side.

The money will be used to develop a "data-driven approach" to identify issues fueling crime. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says she's putting an assistant prosecutor in place to concentrate on Detroit's east side.

U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Mich., will present a symbolic check to the Detroit Crime Commission on Tuesday. The commission is a nonprofit group formed last year to act as a liaison between the public and law enforcement agencies.

It is staffed by retired law enforcers and led by Andrew Arena, the former head of the Detroit FBI.

Law
3:30 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Report: More Michigan ex-cons killing after leaving prison

A guard tower at one of the state prisons located in Jackson, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More and more Michigan ex-cons are killing people after they leave prison, a problem that the state Department of Corrections and its employees union blame on each other.

The Detroit Free Press says 88 probationers or parolees committed 95 homicides in 2010 through Aug. 31, 2012. Ex-cons under state supervision killed 21 people in 2010, 38 in 2012 and 36 in the first eight months of 2012.

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Law
11:13 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Michigan prison inmate owes $353 after losing teeth trial

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan inmate who blamed prison officials for his bad teeth has another cavity to fill: a $353 bill for his failed lawsuit.

A judge has ordered Jerry Flanory to pay for transcript costs, copy fees and a nominal $20 for the state's cost of the one-day trial. The money will go to the state of Michigan.

Flanory claimed his teeth and gums suffered because he was cut off from toothpaste at a prison in the Upper Peninsula. The state denied the allegations and said the Flint man had only five teeth when he entered prison.

Law
3:52 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

State employees call court ruling a 'victory'

Ray Holman of UAW Local 6000 says the ruling is a victory for state employees.

Thousands of state employees are applauding a judge’s ruling that they shouldn't be forced to pay for their pension benefits.

An Ingham County Circuit Court judge said today that a rule requiring state employees cough up four-percent of their salaries to keep their pensions is unconstitutional.

She said it’s effectively a pay cut, something only the Michigan Civil Service Commission has the authority to enact.

Ray Holman is with UAW Local 6000, the largest state employee union in Michigan.

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Law
4:59 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Shoplifting rings on the rise

southernfried MorgueFile

Organized gangs that steal from retail stores in Michigan are not only driving up prices, they're putting the public at risk. 

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Law
4:57 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Judge: Case against Boy Scouts can proceed

taliesin MorgueFile

A Michigan judge has ruled a case against the Boy Scouts of America can go ahead.

In 2009, an assistant Scoutmaster with the Chief Okemos Council, which serves Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties, was accused of molesting two Scouts.  

Roger Young was charged with criminal sexual assault and possession of child pornography. He committed suicide later that year.

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Law
2:08 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Despite trespassing conviction, Holland minister won’t rule out more civil disobedience

Rev. Bill Freeman reads from his copy of the U.S. Constitution during a packed public hearing on the proposed changes to the Holland city ordinance in 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A Holland minister who’s been pushing for equal protection for gay, bisexual and transgender people says he’ll consider staging another protest. That’s in spite of a jury this week convicting him of trespassing for his first protest.

Reverend Bill Freeman is upset Holland City Council voted not to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s anti-discrimination laws. One night last October Freeman decided to occupy city hall to try to get city council to change its mind and join more than a dozen other Michigan cities with similar laws. He was arrested for trespassing when the building was closed that evening.

“It’s time for the City of Holland to join the 21st century,” Freeman said, referencing changes to the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and President Obama’s recent support of gay marriage. “The City of Holland knows what the right thing is and that is not to allow discrimination of anybody,” Freeman added.

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Law
1:22 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Update: investigation dropped into alleged hate crime

MSU student Zachary Tennen recovers after his attack
Natalie Kolb Image used with permission of The State News

Update: September 27, 2012 1:15 pm 

The Ingham county prosecutor won't press any charges in the alleged assault and hate crime involving MSU student Zachary Tennen - and Tennen's family supports that call.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — No charges will be brought following an investigation into an assault on a Michigan State University student who claimed he was punched and had his jaw broken because he's Jewish, a prosecutor said Thursday.

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Law
11:53 am
Thu September 27, 2012

Kilpatrick trial resumes; ex-lawmaker is witness

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - After a day off, the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has resumed with a former state senator in the witness chair.

Prosecutors on Thursday asked former Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow about approving state grants in 2000 when Kilpatrick was a member of the House.

The government alleges that Kilpatrick illegally funneled tax dollars to his pal, Bobby Ferguson. Kilpatrick, his father, Ferguson and the city's former water boss are charged with a racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.

The government's main claim is that Kilpatrick received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash through bribery, extortion and other methods when he was mayor, from 2002 to fall 2008. He resigned four years ago in another scandal and now lives in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Law
2:40 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Michigan State Rep. Bob Genetski found guilty on drunken driving charge

Republican state Representative Bob Genetski
Photo courtesy of Rep. Genetski's office

A jury has found Rep. Bob Genetski (R-Saugatuck) guilty for driving drunk earlier this year in East Lansing.

Genetski's defense was that blood alcohol tests were conducted improperly. The jury sided with the prosecution.

More on today's verdict from the Holland Sentinel:

Rep. Bob Genetski's face betrayed no emotion as the jury foreman said "guilty," the one-word verdict in his drunken driving trial.

Genetski was whisked away immediately to fulfill requirements of probation until his sentence is handed down by East Lansing District Judge David Jordon. The judge ordered Genetski to set up a substance abuse screening schedule.

The lawmaker will not be talking to the media, according to his attorney, Mike Nichols.

Genetski is campaigning for a third term in Michigan's House of Representatives.

The Sentinel reports Genetski faces "having up to 6 points added to his driving record;" a $1,000 annual driver responsibility fee for two years; and being ordered to community service.

Law
1:45 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Drug Enforcement Agency says 'We'll take your drugs, no questions asked'

Tom Varco Wikimedia commons

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is asking, "Got Drugs?"

As part of a "National Prescription Drug Take Back Day" the Michigan State Police and the DEA will collect accumulated unwanted, or unused prescription drugs. The goal is to safely dispose of the medications.

State police say the service is free and anonymous, and drugs may be dropped off without questions.

Drop spots will include 29 state police posts.

You can find the drop off locations here.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The DEA says this is the fifth "Take Back Day" they have organized. Last April, the agency says "a record-breaking 552,161 pounds (276 tons)" of unwanted or expired medications were turned in for disposal.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart says the effort is part of the fight against prescription drug abuse.

"While a uniform system for prescription drug disposal is being finalized, we will continue to sponsor these important take-back opportunities as a service to our communities. Our take-back events highlight the problems related to prescription drug abuse and give our citizens an opportunity to contribute to the solution."

Law
2:01 pm
Sat September 22, 2012

Michigan State Police have a new tool to help them catch online child predators

The Michigan Moose donated the computer system that will assist the Michigan State Police catch online child predators
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new piece of equipment may soon help Michigan State Police catch online child predators.

Detective Sergeant Jay Poupard has spent years tracking online child predators for the Michigan State Police.

He says the way predators try to contact children online has been changing, from direct contact to harder to trace indirect methods, like file sharing.

“It hasn’t decreased. It’s just moved into another part of the virtual world,” says Poupard.

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Law
5:12 am
Sat September 22, 2012

Mitch Albom, charity sued over Haiti orphanage

Mitch Albom

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - Operators of a Haiti orphanage are suing journalist Mitch Albom and one of his charities, claiming the best-selling author broke terms of an agreement about running the orphanage after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

The Caring and Sharing Mission charity and its Inkster, Michigan founder, the Reverend John Hearn, filed a lawsuit in a Pontiac court this week claiming the Detroit Free Press columnist and his A Hole in the Roof Foundation didn't follow an operating agreement they entered into with the Port-au-Prince mission after the quake.

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Police
12:56 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Saginaw police officers disciplined in wake of homeless man shooting, mother still looks for answers

A screenshot from the cell phone video which shows Milton Hall being shot and killed by Saginaw Police officers.
CNN

Earlier this month it was announced the Saginaw police officers who shot and killed a homeless, mentally ill man would not face criminal charges. 49-year-old Milton Hall was killed by Saginaw Police July 1, after police say he refused to drop a knife. Six officers fired several dozen shots at Hall.

Now we hear that some officers will be disciplined internally by the Saginaw Police Department.

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Law
2:37 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Emotions still running high after Saginaw fatal police shooting

Jewel Hall, mother of Milton Hall, spoke a community forum about the fatal police shooting of her son.
Kate Wells

Justice still hasn’t been done in the case of a fatal police shooting of a mentally ill man in Saginaw this summer.

That was the message at a community forum this week, where some 200 residents came out to express frustration with local law enforcement, and with the county prosecutor for declining to press criminal charges against the officers. 

Among the mostly African American crowd at the forum, the primary question seemed to be: why was so much lethal force used on July 1st, the day Milton Hall was shot by police 11 times?

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Law
11:50 am
Tue September 18, 2012

Lawyers upset over news story in Kilpatrick case

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

DETROIT (AP) - Defense lawyers in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick are objecting to news coverage and asking a judge to move the case out of town.

The attorneys cited a story Monday in the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper said a juror in a recent trial involving Detroit contractor Bobby Ferguson didn't disclose certain information about herself.

Ferguson's lawyer, Gerald Evelyn, said Tuesday that the story was an "outrage" and would intimidate jurors in the Kilpatrick case. Jury selection is expected to end this week.

Judge Nancy Edmunds says the story was distressing, but she isn't stopping jury selection. Free Press attorney Herschel Fink says the remarks by defense lawyers are "self-serving."

Kilpatrick is on trial with Ferguson, his father, Bernard Kilpatrick, and former water boss Victor Mercado.

Law
2:38 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Ex-Pontiac councilman charged with corruption

Pontiac, Michigan.

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - An FBI sting operation has led to corruption charges against a former Pontiac city council member.

Federal authorities say Everett Seay accepted $25,000 from a man who needed city approval to open a money-handling business in Pontiac. The government says Seay was told the shop would be used to launder drug profits.

Seay also is accused of helping transport 35 pounds of cocaine for $15,000. The cocaine was fake, and the man who wanted to open a money-handling business actually was an undercover agent. The alleged crimes occurred in 2008 and 2009 when Seay was on the Pontiac council.

Seay was due in court Monday and could not immediately be reached for comment. Two other people also were charged.

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