michigan supreme court

Politics & Government
1:12 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Do right-to-work laws undermine the Michigan Civil Service Commission?

Police cars in front of the state Capitol during right-to-work protests
david_shane flickr

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Michigan Supreme Court won’t give an early ruling on the state’s right-to-work law.

Gov. Rick Snyder pressed the state’s high court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the laws, which were quickly passed during a lame duck legislative session last December.

On Friday, the justices declined the governor’s request:

"We are not persuaded that granting the request would be an appropriate exercise of the court's discretion.”

In December 2012, Michigan became the 24th state with a right-to-work law in place. The controversial law -- which brought out some 10,000 protesters to the state capitol in Lansing -- throws out the requirement to financially support unions as a condition of employment.

Supporters of unions are challenging the constitutionality of the law, arguing that the state’s constitution gives the Civil Service Commission jurisdiction over the rules of employment, not the state Legislature.

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Politics & Government
10:45 am
Mon July 8, 2013

State lawmakers plan to take up bill to revive medical pot dispensaries

Neeta Lind Flickr

A state House panel is likely to take up a bill soon that would revive medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan. Republican lawmakers are starting to take interest in the issue.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Supreme Court handed down a ruling that effectively stopped most marijuana dispensaries from operating in the state. The court ruled that the dispensaries can be shut down as a public nuisance. Now state lawmakers say they’re close to a deal on legislation that would allow and regulate the facilities.

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Politics & Government
11:52 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Michigan Supreme Court says it won't rule on right-to-work law early

Last December, thousands of union members protested the Right to Work law at the state capitol
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has unanimously decided not to step in early to decide the legality of the state's right-to-work law.

The court on Friday said it wasn't persuaded that ruling now would be an "appropriate exercise" of its discretion.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in January asked for an advisory opinion on the law that lets workers stop paying union dues or fees.

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Politics & Government
8:37 am
Wed June 19, 2013

This week in Michigan politics: Medicaid in the Senate, Snyder in Israel, Mike Duggan off the ballot

Matthileo Flickr

Week in Michigan politics interview for 6/19/2013

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Emily Fox discuss the state of Medicaid expansion in the Michigan Senate, Governor Snyder's trade mission to Israel, and the political future of Mike Duggan in Detroit.

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Politics & Government
7:53 am
Wed May 29, 2013

In this morning's news: Diane Hathaway sentenced, additional funding for schools, weather update

In this morning's news...
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice sentenced to jail time

“Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced to one year and one day in federal custody, for the crime of bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say Diane Hathaway illegally concealed a million dollars in assets, so she could qualify for favorable terms on a short sale of one of her homes in Michigan. The defendant had hoped to avoid prison time,” Michigan Radio's Vincent Duffy reports.

Michigan schools could see increase in state funding

“Michigan public schools would see more state funding under a budget plan approved by the state House. Every school would see at least a five-dollar per-pupil boost. Schools getting the minimum amount from the state could receive up to 60 dollars more per student. The state Senate is expected to take up the education budget today,” Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reports.

Strong winds and funnel clouds cause damage in Michigan

"The National Weather Service reported several funnel cloud sightings in Michigan last night, including a tornado that landed near Goodrich High School southeast of Flint. No injuries were immediately reported. The weather service says high winds in the same severe thunderstorm system heavily damaged several homes, toppling numerous trees and power lines," the Associated Press reports.

Stateside
4:38 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Diane Hathaway sentenced to one year and a day in prison

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diana Hathaway and her lawyer Steve Fishman leaving the federal courthouse in Ann Arbor after sentencing.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

An interview with Rick Pluta about Diane Hathaway.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced for bank fraud in federal court today in Ann Arbor.

Hathaway was forced to resign in January, halfway through her eight-year term on the state Supreme Court.

She resigned before pleading guilty to a scheme to cheat a bank by hiding assets including a vacation home in Florida.

That helped her qualify as a distressed homeowner, so she could then sell a lakefront home in Grosse Pointe Park as a short-sale.

Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, has been covering this story for us, and he joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Law
4:01 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Medical marijuana patients say they can't wait for new rules to be written in Michigan

Many medical marijuana patients have been unable to get the drug since the Michigan Supreme Court ruled dispensaries are illegal.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

More than a hundred medical marijuana patients and their supporters turned out for a rally in Jackson today.   They’re concerned that legal wrangling is getting in the way of patient care.

A month ago, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal.

The court's decision came in a case out of Mt. Pleasant.  

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Stateside
6:39 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

The balance of women to men on Michigan's Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court
photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The State Supreme Court began hearing cases this week with a full bench.

With Governor Snyder's appointment of new Justice David Viviano to replace former Justice Diane Hathaway, it was the first time in some six weeks that the court has had seven sitting justices.

Of course, Diane Hathway had to step down from the court in January and has since pleaded guilty to a federal bank fraud charge in connection with a family real estate deal. Detroit News columnist Laura Berman had been giving a lot of thought to the appointment of Justice Viviano, and her column in Tuesday's Detroit News reflects her disappointment in Governor Snyder's  choice of a man to replace Diane Hathaway. We now have five men and two women on the Supreme Court. Click the audio link above to hear the full interview.

Law
2:38 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Live from Michigan's Supreme Court

Michigan's Supreme Court now streams oral arguments.
Michigan Supreme Court

Michigan’s Supreme Court is now streaming oral arguments live on the web.

The court has been broadcasting its caseload since 1996 through Michigan Government Television.  When that service stopped in December, the court decided streaming was the right solution.

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Michigan Supreme Court, Democratic party

Graham Davis flickr

Each week we speak with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Governor Snyder has chosen his replacement for the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge David Viviano fills the seat left open after the resignation of Diane Hathaway after a bank fraud scandal involving the short sale of property in Grosse Pointe.

And, the Michigan Republican and Democratic parties elected their leadership. The Democratic party saw its longtime chair, Mark Brewer, concede victory to Lon Johnson. What could Johnson's leadership mean for the Democratic party in Michigan?

Politics & Government
8:24 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Commentary: The governor’s Supreme Court appointment

Lessenberry commentary for 2/28/13

Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder finally filled the vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court created when disgraced Justice Diane Hathaway resigned last month, just before pleading guilty to felony bank fraud. His pick was a mild surprise; David Viviano, the young chief circuit judge in Macomb County.

Later that afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised that the governor called me to explain the process by which he made this appointment. I suspect this was because I have talked and written a lot about the Michigan Supreme Court, which didn’t have the highest reputation, even before the Hathaway scandal.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

In this morning's news: New Supreme Court justice, health care exchange, party switch investigation

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Governor Snyder chooses a Republican judge to replace Supreme Court Justice Hathaway

"Governor Rick Snyder has picked a Republican judge from Macomb County to fill a vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge David Viviano replaces Justice Diane Hathaway, who resigned in disgrace as she faced bank fraud charges," Rick Pluta reports.
 

Michigan moves forward with health care exchange

"A bill to set up a state website where people can shop for health insurance has passed its first hurdle in the state Legislature. A House panel Wednesday voted to accept more than $30 million from Washington to set up the health care exchange. It would be a partnership between the state and the federal government under the Affordable Care Act," Jake Neher reports.

Schmidt and Bolger case extended

A one person grand jury is extending an investigation until August into a political party switch scheme involving then Rep. Roy Schmidt and House Speaker Jase Bolger. As the Associated Press reports,

"Representative Roy Schmidt's switch to the GOP last May came under scrutiny when he offered money to a political novice to run as a Democrat against him. Democrats say Bolger possibly conspired to obstruct justice, though a Kent County prosecutor said no crimes were committed."

Law
6:39 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Stateside: Snyder appoints new justice to state Supreme Court

Newly appointed Michigan Supreme Court Judge, David Viviano
http://www.macombcountymi.gov

Governor Snyder has appointed a new Justice to the state Supreme Court.

The appointment comes after former Justice Diane Hathaway resigned last month after being indicted for bank fraud.

For many Court watchers, Chief Judge of the Macomb County Circuit David Viviano is a surprise pick.

Rick Pluta,  Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network was at the announcement. He spoke with us to tell us more about Judge Viviano.

To hear the full story click the audio link above.

Investigative
7:00 am
Mon February 18, 2013

The influence of money and politics in Michigan Supreme Court elections

A task force says electing Michigan Supreme Court justices should not be as partisan, or as much about money, as other political offices. But according to one watchdog group, last year the Michigan Supreme Court campaign was the most expensive, most secretive judicial election in America. Several recommendations to get some of the politics and secret money out of the Supreme Court elections were ignored by the legislature last year.

It’s coming up on a year since the Judicial Selection Task Force issued a report recommending changes to how we elect Michigan Supreme Court justices. Since then we elected three to the bench. Although the candidates ran on the non-partisan section of the ballot, politics was involved from the beginning.

“Michigan is unusual in that our Supreme Court race is so partisan. The candidates are nominated at a party convention,” said Susan Smith, President of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. Continuing, she said, “And, even though it doesn’t say on the ballot how they got nominated or which party nominated them, it’s really a farce, then, to put it up as a non-partisan election.”

And if politics is not far removed from electing Supreme Court justices, neither is money.

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Politics & Government
10:46 am
Fri February 15, 2013

State lawmaker proposes medical marijuana dispensaries

Experts at the panel discussion will answer questions about medical marijuana
Flickr/lavocado

A Republican state lawmaker has introduced legislation to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan.

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled the state’s medical marijuana law does not allow dispensaries.

State Representative Mike Callton says that’s a hole in the law that needs to be fixed because it creates an unfair hardship on terminally ill people.

“The problem”, he said, “if there’s 126,000 patients in Michigan right now, and only one in three has a caregiver. So the Supreme Court ruling, by taking out the dispensaries, and I can see that it wasn’t in the law, it either leaves patients without caregivers to either go underground or go without.”

“This cancer patient, this AIDS patient should be able to go right to a provisionary center – which my bill is creating – and get that prescription filled right away, get rid of that nausea, get that appetite back, keep that weight up, and have that quality of life even though you’re dying,” said Callton.

Callton says his bill would also reduce the illegal sale of marijuana because people who grow more than they need could provide it to other patients through a dispensary.

The legislation would allow local governments to outlaw dispensaries.  

Similar legislation failed to win approval last year, but Callton says legislators from both parties seem to be more accepting of the idea in this term.

The medical marijuana law was adopted overwhelmingly by voters in 2008.

Politics & Government
4:51 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Michigan Supreme Court: Cop did not violate 5th Amendment

The Michigan Supreme Court says police officers do not have to stop talking to a suspect once the right to remain silent is invoked.

Kadeem White was a 17-year-old charged with murder and armed robbery who said he didn’t want to talk once he was read his Miranda rights.

The detective stopped asking questions, but carried on his side of the conversation expressing concern about the missing gun used in the crime until White blurted out a confession.

The trial court said the detective’s actions were the functional equivalent of carrying on the interrogation after White asserted his right to remain silent.

The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the lower court, saying the detective lived up to his constitutional responsibilities and it was White’s decision to break his silence.

The state Supreme Court agreed, although it was a closely divided three-to-two decision.

Law
1:45 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Judicial watchdog drops complaint against Hathaway

michigan.gov

DETROIT (AP) -The state agency that monitors judges for misconduct is dropping its complaint against Diane Hathaway now that she's no longer on the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission said Tuesday there's nothing to gain. Hathaway pleaded guilty last week to federal bank fraud for shifting properties and failing to disclose assets while trying to dump her Detroit-area home in a short sale. She could go to prison and lose her law license.

The commission filed an ethics complaint against Hathaway and sought her suspension on Jan. 7 while she was still on the Supreme Court. That led to news that Hathaway had quietly filed retirement papers in December and was planning to quit on Jan. 21.

She was charged with fraud three days before leaving the court.

Law
1:28 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Former Jackson judge pleads guilty to misdemeanor charges

Former Jackson County District Judge James Justin
official portrait

A former Jackson County district judge has pleaded guilty to four counts of willful neglect of duty. The charges are misdemeanors.

The Michigan Supreme Court removed Judge James Justin from the bench a year ago. Justin was suspended in 2010 due to allegations of misconduct.

Justin was accused of fixing speeding and other traffic tickets issued to his wife and his court officers.

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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Politics & Government
2:19 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Hathaway resignation official; Snyder considers replacements for Supreme Court seat

michigan.gov

As Justice Diane Hathaway officially resigns from the Michigan Supreme Court today, Governor Rick Snyder says he is considering her replacement.

Hathaway’s resignation comes after federal prosecutors charged the justice with bank fraud in connection with a 2011 real estate deal.

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