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Appellate Attorney

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Dear Appellate Attorneys:  I am in need of help for a client who was given a civil infraction for having "art" on his property.  We lost in 65A District Court and want to appeal to Circuit Court.  You may have heard of case:  It's "The Blue Loop" case in Clinton County.  We have raised a few dollars for his appeal; but I would like some help so that I can win the case for this wonderful artist.  Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Bill Metros 517-641-4000
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Last week, voters overwhelmingly ( 67 to 33 percent ) voted yes on Proposal 3, the proposal to amend Article II, section 4 of the Michigan Constitution. The proposal allows a citizen who is qualified to vote in Michigan to become automatically registered to vote when applying for, updating, or renewing a driver’s license or state-issued personal identification card, unless the person declines, simultaneously register to vote with proof of residency and obtain a ballot during the two-week period before an election, up to and including Election Day, obtain an absentee voter ballot without providing a reason, and cast a straight-ticket vote for ...
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   Hon. Cheryl A. Matthews was elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court bench in 2004. She is currently assigned to the Civil/Criminal Division, but had previously served in the Family Division. Before that, she served in the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, first as an assistant prosecuting attorney (1991- 1997), then as chief of the Child Sexual Assault Section (1997- 2004). During that time, Judge Matthews also served as an instructor at the Oakland Police Academy. She was appointed by the governor to the Michigan Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children (2014-2015), was appointed to the Governor's Task Force on Children's Justice ...
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Like most professionals, attorneys are increasingly communicating with clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel electronically, which raises the question of whether civility has (or has not) transferred to the digital practice of law. Ever-increasing electronic communications can distance us from each other and in some cases, eliminate the courtesies that were once commonplace. We see this regularly in the harsh tweets and cyberbullying reported on the news. But are we also seeing it in the practice of law, where we are doing more and more from behind a computer screen? Are we losing the human touch of lawyering? Consider a few tips for increasing civility ...
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Many complainants struggle to take the stand in a trial against their assailant. Sitting through direct exam with a perceived prosecutor ally is often traumatic enough. Facing cross-examination from a (rightfully) zealous defense attorney can be unbearable. Courtroom support dogs may ease the distress of testifying for certain witnesses. MCL 600.2163a , which governs when a witness may be accompanied by a support person, was recently amended to allow for courtroom support dogs. See 2018 PA 282 (eff. Sept 27, 2018). The amendments were prompted by a 2016 case, People v Johnson , in which two child witnesses were accompanied at trial by a support dog ...
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Hi all. I have an international client who owns real property in Belize. Trying to establish a banking relationship, and having difficulty. Anyone have a relationship w a Belize City based attorney? Thanks in advance. Ton
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At this year’s Elder Law Institute, Chris Smith and Joe Weiler called attention to an unpublished court of appeals case that should prompt a reminder to your clients who are personal representatives and successor trustees to call the insurance agent after an individual’s death. In Thompson v Fremont Ins Co , No 337368 (Mich Ct App Apr 10, 2018) (unpublished), Floyd Jude was living in a home that was transferred into a trust. Floyd had purchased an insurance policy on the home from Fremont but did not indicate that the home was owned by the trust. The insurance policy designated Floyd as the insured. Floyd eventually died, and after his death, the personal ...
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Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, along with eight Michigan residents, have filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan over the high price of car insurance in Michigan, and in Detroit in particular. The suit seeks declaratory action from the court that the Michigan No-Fault Insurance Act of 1973, as interpreted by the courts, is unconstitutional in that it requires Michigan motorists to purchase coverage that is excessively expensive. The ultimate goal of the suit is for the state legislature to fix the issues with the current system or, alternatively, to have Michigan return to a fault-based tort system, much like Ohio and Indiana, which have much cheaper insurance ...
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In the era of #MeToo, individuals are more willing to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault. A crop of new local and national apps now allows victims to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault from their smartphones. The thought behind the apps is that it is less traumatizing for victims to report when they are ready from the comfort of their phones than to report face-to-face . Some reporting apps can even encrypt the victim’s identity. Loyola University in Chicago has created an app, Here for You , that attempts to dispel myths about sexual violence with material and connects students with available resources ...
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Hon. Timothy G. Hicks Muskegon County Circuit Court 990 Terrace St STE 325 Muskegon, Michigan 49442-3357 Phone: (231) 724-6337 Fax: (231) 724-4587 Hon. Timothy G. Hicks taught, counseled, and coached at two rural schools before starting his law career in 1983. He practiced law for 13 years before his appointment to the 14th Circuit Court (Muskegon County) in 1996, serving as chief judge from 1998 to 2003. Judge Hicks is active in the Michigan Judges Association and served as its president in 2012. He was one of 12 state court judges who, from 2008 through 2010, piloted innovations in the conduct of jury trials. Judge Hicks ...
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Writing, whether you love it or hate it, is a very important (and often time-consuming) part of being a lawyer. So why not take advantage of tools that can make your writing both better and easier to accomplish? Several years ago, I blogged about WordRake , software that suggests edits to tighten and clarify your legal writing. But Wordrake is far from the only game in town. Other writing improvement software includes: PerfectIt : This proofreading software checks for consistency mistakes (e.g., e-mail and email in one document) and can be customized to your personal style. $70 per user for one year. Hemingway : This editing app finds ...
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​A longtime friend from law school recently left the San Diego District Attorney’s Office to open his own law firm, and he mentioned that he had decided not to offer free consultations. His reason? His time was too valuable to give away. By charging a small sum for a consultation that could be applied to the cost of his services, he could automatically screen out customers who never had any intention of hiring him in the first place. Marketing experts agree. “Your time is your most valuable resource,” says Kimanzi Constable in his article 3 Reasons Why That “Free Consultation” Is a Losing Strategy for Entrepreneurs . Free consultations are usually used by ...
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​ Methamphetamine (also known as crystal meth or meth) was initially produced by gangs on the West Coast, but production later moved to small residential home labs. Meth production poses health risks to subsequent purchasers of these residential homes, particularly for younger members of the family. Reports of meth labs in residential homes remain fairly common. Recent arrests were made in Iron County , Montmorency County and Gladwin County . According to a Michigan State Police Report , there were 215 arrests and lab seizures in 2017. There were also 500 meth-related incidents that required hazardous material clean-up by law enforcement. A residence ...
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The recent turn in provider litigation is a reminder when researching: even state law precedent can be really old! Since Covenant eliminated direct actions for medical providers in PIP cases, everyone in the no-fault world has been debating how providers can bring claims. Experts offered several possibilities, but the assignment theory seemed most viable. If providers could get assignments from injured parties for services provided (future assignments run afoul of the statute), they could stand in the shoes of injured parties in court. The problem: most no-fault policies have anti-assignment clauses, especially after Covenant . Enter an 1880 decision ...
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Elul is the month of the Jewish calendar immediately preceding Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s 29 days long and falls during August and September. Traditionally, Elul is a time to reflect on the past year and prepare for the new one with renewed commitment and purpose. It’s not about making fluffy resolutions like “get organized” or “exercise more.” Rather, it’s a time to ruminate about our successes and failures and how we can transform ourselves for the better going forward. A few years ago, I signed up to get Elul thinking/writing prompts from an old friend of mine who is now a rabbi. Every night, he sends a beautiful e-mail, usually with a story ...
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Judge Paul Denenfeld, Kent County Circuit Court, Family Division Judge Paul Denenfeld took the bench in 2009. Judge Denenfeld was previously a partner at Yates, LaGrand & Denenfeld, PLLC. For nearly 10 years, he was a civil rights and civil liberties attorney in Detroit. Judge Denenfeld has also spent considerable time working on the rule of law in several former Soviet republics. What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? To not be prepared. A lawyer should, at a minimum, know the applicable statutes and court rules in the matter before the court and have copies of them at the hearing so they can be discussed if necessary. What ...
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Podcasts are popular for a reason. They enable you to listen to content you want to listen to, when you want to listen to it, and usually for free. And you can listen while doing something else. Commuting, lawn work, daily dog walks, and grocery shopping are rendered inoffensive, even enjoyable, when you have your headphones on, locked into your favorite topic. The following law and law-related podcasts will help with professional development, keep you current on legal and political issues, or entertain you.   Bloomberg Law – Prominent attorneys analyze major legal issues and cases in the news. It covers all aspects of the legal profession. Recent episodes ...
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Move out!

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Generally, eviction cases do not hit the media. However, when the landlords are forced to involve the court system to evict their son, the story will get play. A New York Supreme Court judge recently ordered the eviction of a 30-year-old man from his parents’ home. Michael Rotondo had lived in a room in his parents’ home for the past 8 years. His parents left him five written notices to leave the premises within two weeks before involving the court. They provided advice for their son in the notices, as well as $1,100 to find a new place. Some of the parental advice included the following: Sell the other things you have that have any significant ...
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         Unless you’ve spent the last month living under a rock, you’ve almost certainly heard that the United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision allowing states to impose tax on internet transactions. [1]   Wayfair is arguably the most important state tax case to be decided in the past two decades and fundamentally changes the liability for, and collection of, state sales and use taxes.  Specifically, on June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. (Supreme Court Docket No. 17–494).  A copy of the Wayfair decision is available here .           In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision ...
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The Supreme Court handed down its decision in Carpenter v United States on June 22, 2018, holding that law enforcement does not have warrantless access to cell phone location data (also referred to as cell site location information or CSLI). This holding may translate into a new trial for Mr. Carpenter, who received a 100-year sentence for masterminding a string of robberies of Radio Shacks and (ironically enough, as noted by Justice Roberts) T-Mobile stores in Detroit. I was under the impression from watching Breaking Bad that criminal masterminds used burner phones. Maybe they didn’t do that back in 2011 when all of this happened. The opinion talks ...
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