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In the 1980s, refugees from Central America fled to the United States to escape military oppression and civil wars. A sanctuary movement arose in response, with more than 500 congregations participating by providing transport and housing. Decades later, a new congregational sanctuary movement is afoot. Congregations across the country are opening their doors to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants facing deportation. This new sanctuary movement is bolstered by a 2011 memo setting forth an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement policy designed to ensure that ICE enforcement actions not occur at “sensitive locations,” such as schools, hospitals, churches, ...
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Star Trek: The Original Series debuted more than 51 years ago—on September 8, 1966. Produced by Lucille Ball’s company Desilu, the show exposed viewers to fantastical technology no one had ever seen before. The average viewer in 1966 could hardly have imagined that some of that technology would become ubiquitous: handheld communicators (first flip phones and then smartphones), personal access display devices (affectionately called iPads or tablets), voice recognition and voice interface (Siri and Alexa), wireless in-ear communicators (Bluetooth, despite what Uhura may have called hers), portable storage devices (flash drives), a transporter able to locate ...
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​Wondering if anyone has encountered a problem like this one and how you resolved the problem. Decedent passed away in September of this year and has an auto-lease with Ford Motor Credit that has a year remaining on its term. What, if anything, can be done to allow the estate to terminate the lease without significant expense to the estate. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Larry Weingarden
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Forfeiture, by its very definition, is a consequence of certain immoral or illegal behavior. Setting aside a real estate forfeiture, which is purely a contractual remedy (albeit a rather one-sided one), civil asset forfeiture is a common method for the government to seize and liquidate private property used in or associated with the commission of a crime. Of course, this gets a little fuzzy when talking about forfeiture under the Michigan Controlled Substances Act, which doesn’t actually require a criminal conviction. In fact, more often than not, the law enforcement agency doesn’t even need to prove the property was connected to a crime. That’s because an owner ...
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Judge Patricia P. Fresard has served as a judge for the Wayne County Circuit Court since 1999. Judge Fresard has served as felony trial court judge and presently serves as presiding judge for the Civil Division, where each judge has a caseload of approximately 950 cases. She also serves on the court’s executive and strategic planning committees. Judge Fresard is a member of the Federal Bar’s diversity committee and has been active throughout her career in community service and mentorship programs, including the Inns of Court program.   Local Rules for Judge Fresard’s Courtroom How should lawyers file an appearance in your court? In Wayne County ...
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​ I’m covering medical marijuana a lot these days, which is fascinating since I have no personal experience with this drug. This 14-year-old girl in the Vans jacket basically sums up how that’s possible. It’s on my radar for several reasons. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) recently issued a press release outlining some of the things we can expect in the coming months in connection with the implementation of the Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing Act (MMFLA). (If you need a primer on this new act, our on-demand seminar with Bob Hendricks and Mary Chartier should be helpful.) Dispensaries currently serving patients ...
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Michigan State Representative Jim Runestad , who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced legislation that would significantly change the practice of family law. Currently, the proposed legislation, known as HB 4691 , has passed the House Judiciary Committee and is awaiting a vote in the full House of Representatives. The current Child Custody Act of 1970 contains a multifactored “best interests” test , which helps courts determine what custody and parenting time arrangement would be best for the child in a particular dispute. The court is supposed to weigh each of the relevant factors and award custody to one parent or to both parents jointly. ...
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​ Businesses generally serve a diverse group of customers that draw from all sides of political and social issues. Past wisdom dictated staying out of controversial issues to avoid offending customers. But in the past few years, the voice of business has become a visible and integral part of the national social and political dialogue. A Forbes contributor has questioned whether this means that executives feel advocacy is more important than profits or whether they are being savvy. The question and answer is reflected in responses to an online poll regarding Starbucks. One person said, “Starbucks, and all businesses for that matter, should not be ...
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A TED Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has recently been making the rounds on my social media channels. In the talk ( and in her book of the same name), Duckworth argues that grit —defined as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals”—is a better predictor of success in school and in life than IQ or other commonly cited factors. At the end of her talk, Duckworth admits that she’s not sure what exactly makes one person grittier than another or whether and how we can build up our grittiness. She ventures a guess that having a “ growth mindset ” might have something to do with it. Coined by Carol Dweck ...
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If you are a solo practitioner with a growing practice, it may be time to consider hiring an employee. If that process seems overwhelming, help is out there! Here are a few considerations to get you started. Do you need to hire a paralegal or an assistant, or another attorney? If you’ve been overwhelmed by administrative tasks or neglecting marketing, consider hiring an assistant. If you’ve been turning away work, perhaps an additional attorney is the key. Hire a contract attorney if the notion of bringing on a full-time attorney is too scary. Can you afford to hire staff? Check out this recent list of average salaries for small firm ...
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The Honorable Karen D. McDonald was elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court Family Division in November 2012 after working in private practice at Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, PC, where she specialized in civil and family law from 2004 to 2013. Before working in private practice, Judge McDonald worked in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office from 1999 to 2004. There, she prosecuted general misdemeanors and felonies and vertically prosecuted criminal sexual conduct cases in the child sexual assault section. Judge McDonald is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Michigan Interscholastic ...
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When arrested for a drunk driving case in Michigan, it's not uncommon to be released without actually being charged with a crime.  The police must have the prosecutor review the case prior to charges being issued, and the officer must swear to an arrest warrant with the judge.   If your case involves a blood draw, that sample may take weeks or months to best tested by the MSP lab, which will delay charges.   This means that you're released and told the court will contact you when you're charged.  I would strongly advise any potential client to NOT follow that course of action, because the court is not going to be on top of it, and it's likely that an arrest ...
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Why do doctors wear white coats and judges wear black robes? It seems the opposite should be true. Doctors, who historically have gotten very messy during the practice of their profession, would be well served by black coats that hide all sins whereas judges, who rarely get even a smudge on their sleeve during the day, could sport a white robe without worry. But that is not the way it is. Maybe the colors are meant as a reassurance to the observers of these professionals. The doctor’s white coat communicates to patients that whatever procedure or experience they will have will be antiseptic, clean, and simple. On the other hand, judges wear black, which is ...
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“Alternate litigation funding” made the news recently when Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit, entirely (but secretly) funded by Peter Thiel , ultimately bankrupted the gossip blog Gawker. Litigation funding is not new in Michigan. A simple Google search returns pages of companies offering funding services to Michigan litigants. The most common services provide nonrecourse funding for legal fees, costs, and expenses to individual litigants or working capital to stay afloat during litigation. What is new, however, is the growing field of litigation finance investing. Commercial litigation finance is a growing industry. Recently, the University of Michigan agreed ...
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​This past June, Martin Shkreli ’s attorneys told U.S. District Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto not to believe Shkreli’s tweets and posts on social media alluding to the fact that he had access to large sums of cash. The argument made by Benjamin Brafman was part of a request to reduce Shkreli’s bail from $5 million to $2 million. In particular, Brafman stated, “when people tweet, they don’t always mean what they say.” All this raises the question, is social media making it more difficult to control clients? Telling a client to stay off of social media is “easier said than done in today’s world,” says Erik Syverson in the article “ Social Media’s Impact on ...
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Neighborly disputes are nothing new. In fact, territorial disputes are one of those things that seem to be common among every society throughout history. Compared to the struggle of a nation-state to secure its borders from, say, the army of Genghis Khan, the arguments between your average residential street dwellers can seem rather petty. As a real estate attorney, I ran into plenty of these cases. Probably the most entertaining (and mystifying) were the dock disputes between folks who already had a house on the water and couldn’t find anything better to do than argue about whose dock should go where. Michigan Real Property Law §3.10 has a good discussion ...
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​ I’ve talked to many Michigan lawyers about how they developed their skills. Most start by telling me a story about how they watched and learned from more experienced lawyers. Many remember how much they learned from the mistakes they made. But, today, opportunities to watch and learn are few, and getting away from the office has become ever more difficult. ICLE’s new Elder Law Certificate Program (ELCP) lets lawyers practice fundamental skills with simulated but realistic scenarios and clients. It’s practical, effective, engaging, and entirely online. More than 40 lawyers enthusiastically offered their expertise to develop scenarios and exercises ...
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In 2009, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office located more than 11,000 untested rape kits in a police warehouse in Detroit. One of the biggest problems Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, faced was a lack of funding. Even after receiving federal and state grants of over $5 million, Worthy still felt that the investigation and processing of all the untested rape kits would cost an additional $10 million. Regardless of money constraints, the prosecutor’s office has been working at double speed on these untested kits. As of May 1, 2017, there have been over 92 convictions from evidence tied to the first batch of kits. The kits are being tested ...
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I despise the passive voice in legal writing. Most of the time, it takes up unnecessary space and makes the writing pretty boring. So I try to eliminate it. “The complaint was filed by plaintiff’s counsel before the limitations period had expired” becomes “Plaintiff’s counsel timely filed the complaint.” So much better, right? I will acknowledge there is a time and place for the passive voice . “Mr. Smith was attacked at 3 a.m.” might make sense if there is no identified assailant and the writer wants the focus to be on Mr. Smith. And yes, in fiction, the passive voice can lend a fun element of mystery or stylistic flavor (e.g., “The body was found at ...
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​ A series of interesting circumstances landed me in the hospital last July. The admitting clerk in the ER scolded me for not having a living will or patient advocate designation (PAD). I didn’t appreciate her concern at the time, but her point is well taken. I should stop procrastinating and draft a PAD. I’ve put it off largely because I don’t know who to name. I don’t have a spouse, my children are very young, and my parents don’t live nearby. I know many of you probate practitioners routinely counsel clients with the same concerns. As luck would have it, I’ve worked with several wonderful lawyers over the past year on this very topic. In a set of ...
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