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The federal government has been operating under a partial shutdown since December 22, and approximately 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or are being required to work without pay. If the shutdown lasts past January 11, it will have been the longest since a 21-day furlough in December 1995 and January 1996. Unsurprisingly, the shutdown significantly impacts federal court operations. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts estimates that, using its own funds, it can sustain paid operations until January 18. If funds run out and new appropriated funds are not available, the judiciary will operate under the terms of the Anti-Deficiency ...
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Marijuana is legal! ( Not really , but kind of at the state level under certain circumstances .) Undoubtedly you will have a variety of people say this to you in the coming months. A burning question that might follow: can my (friend’s) possession conviction from college now disappear? Proposal 1, enacting the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act , had no provisions for criminal expungement. (The expungement clause was axed  from the original proposal.) Of course, the legislature could choose to add them at a later date. More immediate relief may come from Governor Gretchen Whitmer , who has hinted at the possibility of clemency. But ...
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Judge Marcy A. Klaus was elected to the Probate and Family Court for the 17th District in November 2012. Her docket includes probate, family, and juvenile matters. She splits her time between the Clare County courthouse (Harrison) and the Gladwin County courthouse (Gladwin). A native of Clare, Judge Klaus practiced family and probate law in a firm with her father and husband before becoming a judge. Judge Klaus serves on the Executive Committee of the Michigan Probate Judges Association and is President of the Central Michigan Judges Association.  What are the best and worst things a lawyer can do in your court? We have a very busy docket, and ...
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The Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed a lawsuit against Harvard in 2014 under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act , which bars intentional discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, or national origin at colleges and universities that receive federal funds. SFFA specifically alleged that Harvard’s undergraduate admissions process discriminates against Asian Americans. Michael Wang is one of the Asian American students who is involved in the lawsuit. When Wang graduated, he had a 4.67 GPA, placed in the 99th percentile on the SAT, and even performed at former president Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. Wang was rejected from ...
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​ While trials have certainly been on the decline for the past several years, the summary jury trial may be just the thing to breathe new life into a dying litigation tool. What is a summary jury trial? If you have not already heard, it is a “binding jury trial, typically conducted in a single day before a panel of six jurors and presided over by the assigned judge, a judge appointed by the court, or a special hearing officer selected jointly by the parties.” Here are some of the key features of the summary jury trial: Discovery is conducted on an expedited basis. Documentary and witness limitations are imposed. There is no court assigned court reporter, ...
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At the recent ICLE Elder Law Institute I met one of the Elder Justice Initiative lawyers from the Crime Victims Legal Assistance Project (CVLAP). The CVLAP is a statewide program with attorneys across Michigan. The Elder Justice Initiative provides free legal help to people age 55 years or older who have experienced, or are at risk of, abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Free legal services are available regardless of income. Funding for this initiative is provided under a grant from the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). VOCA is funded through federal offender–generated revenue. Elder Justice Initiative services include getting protection orders, connecting ...
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Hon. Patrick J. Conlin, Jr. Washtenaw County Circuit Court 101 E. Huron St. Ann Arbor ,  MI   48104 Phone: (734) 222-3399 Fax: (734) 222-3362   Hon. Patrick J. Conlin, Jr., was elected by voters in 2014 and took the bench on January 2, 2015. He is assigned family law cases, personal protection orders, and juvenile court backup. He previously worked at the law firm of Keusch and Flintoft, PC, focusing his practice on family law matters, probate and general civil litigation, and transactional work. Judge Conlin is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Bar Association, and the Washtenaw County Bar Association (past president). ...
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My son, Isaac, and I recently put together the computer kit he got for his sixth birthday. The computer is designed to help kids learn to code, but it also comes with a few fun games installed, including (nostalgia alert!) Pong . We quickly learned that this particular version of Pong was surprisingly challenging. As Isaac tried to get the hang of it, I headed upstairs for a few minutes. Soon I started hearing jubilant exclamations from downstairs: “I’m winning! I’m winning! Come see!” I thought, “It’s official. My son is a genius. He became a Pong expert in 11 minutes. Parent of the Year contest judges, look no further!” Delighted, I headed down and ...
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The passage of Proposal 1 has cleared the way for legal adult use of marijuana in the state. The new law takes effect 10 days after the official declaration of the vote (which will probably occur around mid-November). At that point it will be legal, at least under state law, for people at least 21 years old to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana on their person and up to 10 ounces as long as it’s locked up at a residence, and they can grow as many as 12 plants in their home. Of course marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level, so there are still legal risks. What is perhaps more consequential is that the new law provides ...
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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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