Law

Law
5:46 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Legislature begins debate over $500 million road funding plan

Credit SDOT Photos / Flikr

A plan to boost state road spending by about half-a-billion dollars a year is taking shape. State lawmakers introduced four bills Thursday that are now part of the package.

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Law
11:48 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Former Detroit Public Library official pleads guilty to bribery charges

The Detroit Public Library.
Credit DPL / Facebook

Forty-seven year old Timothy Cromer was the focus of the FBI’s raid of the Detroit Public Library back in November 2012. Cromer was the library’s chief administrative and technology officer.

Christine MacDonald of the Detroit News has been writing about this case for some time. She reports that Cromer plead guilty to taking $1.4 million in kickbacks from contractors. Two Detroit Public Library contractors were also charged in the FBI’s case.

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Law
5:15 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Gay couple trying to force state to recognize their marriage, “for our 13 kids”

Plaintiffs Clint McCormack (front), Bryan Reamer (back), and some of their 13 children.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

The ACLU of Michigan is suing the state to force it to recognize the marriages of about 300 same-sex couples who got married last month.

Clint McCormack and Bryan Reamer are one of eight couples named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday.

McCormack and Reamer have ten adopted sons and three foster daughters they are raising together in Farmington Hills. They started taking in children in 1998, and McCormack says they only recently decided to stop at 13 kids.

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Law
9:11 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy judge ok's swaps settlement; says "now is the time to negotiate"

Judge Steven Rhodes approved a key settlement in Detroit’s historic bankruptcy case Friday.

The deal will settle a costly interest-rate swaps agreement with two banks, UBS and Bank of America, for $85 million.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr has pushed hard for such a deal. Detroit had guaranteed the swaps with casino revenue, and paid out about $200 million since 2009.

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Law
2:58 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Saginaw County Sheriff to outfit some inmates with stun vest

The Saginaw County Sheriff Department plans to outfit inmates they believe could become violent in court with a "stun vest." 

Inmates will wear the vest underneath their clothes. 

Officers can use a remote control to deliver an electric shock if an inmate tries to attack someone and does not listen to a verbal command to stop. The shock is similar to that of a Taser device. 

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Law
5:39 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Bill to fight scrap metal theft signed into law

The bill prevents scrappers from getting instant cash for commonly-stolen items over $25. From left, Rep. Paul Muxlow, R-Brown City, Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s chief of staff, Lisa Howze.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Michigan now has tougher laws on the books meant to crack down on scrap metal theft.

Under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday, people can no longer get instant cash when they sell commonly stolen items for $25 or more.

Supporters say mailing payments for those items will help law enforcement by creating a paper trail. They say communities all over the state have been literally ripped apart by illegal scrapping.

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Law
11:43 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Breakthrough settlement announced in Detroit bankruptcy case

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Mediators in Detroit’s bankruptcy case have made a potentially huge breakthrough with some of the city’s bondholders.

Bondholders are one of the city’s biggest groups of unsecured creditors.

That means they’re also one of the most important groups for emergency manager Kevyn Orr to get on board with his plan of adjustment, and avoid a protracted legal battle that could bog the city down in bankruptcy court for months or years.

Now, negotiators for the city and three major bond insurers have announced a settlement deal.

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3:03 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Is three company when it comes to co-parenting?

Lead in text: 
According to NPR's Gabrielle Emanuel, it's possible for a child to have more than two legal parents in about 10 states. Michigan isn't one of them. State of Opportunity takes a look at what it means legally for more than one adult--straight or same-sex--to parent a child in our state.
Listen to the original story for a nationwide take on the number of legal parents a child is allowed. http://goo.gl/jnWQ2F
Law
5:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Key ruling expected this week in Detroit bankruptcy

Judge Steven Rhodes will make a major ruling in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy case this week.

Rhodes will decide whether the city can settle an interest-rate swaps deal with two major banks for $85 million.

Detroit had hoped to hedge against interest rates rising when it entered into the swaps deal on some city pension debt in 2006.

But interest rates fell to nearly 0, and Detroit has been forced to shell out about $200 million to UBS and Bank of America since 2009.

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Law
6:53 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Body found in Indiana lake, Officials believe it may be missing Kalamazoo doctor

Police believe this picture of Teleka Patrick was taken either last summer or fall after she arrived in Kalamazoo
Credit Kalamazoo County Sheriff Dept.

PORTER, Ind. (AP) - Authorities say the body of a woman has been found in a northwestern Indiana lake near where they conducted a January search for a missing Michigan doctor.

Indiana State Police say a fisherman on Lake Charles in the town of Porter reported something suspicious Sunday morning. They say divers helped recover a female body dressed in dark clothing.

Police say an autopsy will be conducted this week to positively identify the body.

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Law
8:26 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Michigan's medical schools need more cadavers; law would make donation easier

LANSING – Any accredited Michigan medical school could receive dead body donations under legislation being considered in the state House.

Residents now can donate their bodies to one of three older medical schools, which allocate some donations to other schools and hospitals. But Michigan's new medical schools want to receive bodies independently to promote donations in their areas and streamline the process.

The number of medical schools in Michigan doubled from three to six in recent years, largely in response to a shortage of doctors in many areas of the state.

Law
9:09 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Schuette asks for fast action on gay marriage case

“The sooner we have a more thoughtful and complete and full review of this case, I think the better off everybody is, but I think we want a resolution on it,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a conference call.
Credit Michigan Attorney General

  State Attorney General Bill Schuette has asked a federal appeals court to put the legal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage on a fast track. Schuette is defending Michigan’s ban.

Schuette’s filed a motion with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to skip a hearing before a three judge panel and go directly to the entire 15-judge court. That could shave months, maybe as much as a year, off the appeals process. Schuette says the question needs to settled regardless of who wins in the end. 

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Law
6:00 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Man accused of using fake religious organization to run foreclosure rescue scam

Anthony Carta
Credit Michigan Attorney General's office

Michigan’s Attorney General says a Detroit man defrauded more than 100 people in southeast Michigan with a fake mortgage rescue scam.

Bill Schuette says Anthony Carta ran the scam through a phony religious organization called Freedom by Faith Ministries.

Carta promised homeowners facing foreclosure he’d settle up with their mortgage lenders, for a fee. But he would pocket that money instead.

Carta is accused of stealing more than $300,000 this way. He’s being charged with conducting a criminal enterprise and two other felonies.

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Law
7:58 am
Thu April 3, 2014

New state law lowers taxes for companies trying to get more oil out of existing wells

Credit Randy Knauf / Creative Commons

A new state law encourages oil companies to go back to oil wells that are considered tapped out and extract more oil.

So-called “enhanced recovery projects” are relatively new in Michigan. In fact, there’s only one company that’s using the technique.

The process recycles carbon dioxide that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere and pumps it down into existing oil wells. The pressure forces more oil to the surface. Proponents say the process makes better use of existing oil wells because the oil couldn’t be recovered without the technique.

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Law
11:21 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Michigan Supreme Court to hear dispute over court costs

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court soon will hear arguments in a dispute over whether convicts can be ordered to pay the operating costs of local courts.

Fred Cunningham is asking the Supreme Court to throw out a $1,000 bill that was part of his sentence for a drug crime in Allegan County, southwest of Grand Rapids.

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.

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Law
5:17 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Proposal in state House calls for closing boys juvenile detention center

Thetoad Flickr

A state-run juvenile detention center is slated to be closed under a plan before the Michigan House Appropriations Committee.

Closing the Maxey Boys Training School in Livingston County would save about $8 million.

State Representative Peter MacGregor, R-Cannon Twp., chairs the budget subcommittee which recommended the closure.

"The state facility runs at about roughly a 40% capacity at Maxey, and I just believe that this is an inefficient use of public tax dollars," he said.

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Law
7:26 am
Thu March 27, 2014

State Senate says minors shouldn't be charged as prostitutes

New bill would not charge child sex workers with prostitution.
Credit FBI / Wikimedia

The Michigan Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to charge minors with prostitution. 

"Right now, when children who are victims of sex trafficking in Michigan are found, they’re frequently criminalized," says Bridgette Carr of the University of Michigan Human Trafficking Clinic. "We don’t have a path for them to be treated as victims of sexual abuse, rather than criminals."

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Law
6:31 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Mich. Supreme Court suspends Wayne Co. Judge McCree

The Michigan Supreme Court says a Wayne County judge should be removed from office. It says Wade McCree faces a six-year suspension if voters reelect him in November, and ordered him to pay $11,645.17 in costs.

You might remember Wade McCree's name from a now-infamous quote he gave to a TV reporter about texting a shirtless picture of himself to a sheriff’s office worker.

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Law
7:23 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Business equipment tax repeal bills sail through state House

Jake Neher MPRN

A widely unpopular tax on business equipment in Michigan is one step closer to being permanently repealed.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say the industrial portion of Michigan’s Personal Property Tax (PPT) is a job killer and keeps companies from investing in new equipment.

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Law
6:44 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Appeals court keeps stay on Michigan same-sex marriages in place

Credit Michigan Radio

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has extended the freeze on same-sex marriages in Michigan. The court granted the state’s request to put a hold on last week’s decision that struck down Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional.      

The panel’s 2-1 ruling continues the legal limbo of more than 300 gay and lesbian couples who were married during the weekend window before the door was closed.

Four county clerks opened their doors over the weekend to issue marriage licenses before they were stopped by the Sixth Circuit.      

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