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Three years ago, Dennis Tomasik was completely exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of criminal sexual conduct in 2007. Please have a listen at the link below as my colleagues Max Matthies, Noah Hagan, and I talk to several of the attorneys involved in his 10+ year case including Mary Chartier and Kris Tieber . We also talk to Professor David Moran from U of M Law School and the Michigan Innocence Clinic and even get to hear from Dennis and his wife Kim about their incredible story of perseverance. The Exoneration of Dennis Tomasik Thanks for listening.  Joh
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In a unanimous decision, the Michigan Supreme Court recently held that the longstanding practice of counties keeping the surplus proceeds following a tax foreclosure sale of real property was an unconstitutional taking. Rafaeli, LLC v Oakland Cty , No 156849, __ Mich __ (July 17, 2020). The two plaintiffs in Rafaeli both owed much less in property taxes than their homes were sold for. One plaintiff’s tax debt was around $285, and the property sold for $24,500; the other plaintiff’s property sold for $82,000 compared to a tax debt of $6,000. The General Property Tax Act outlines the tax foreclosure process, but it does not provide for any disbursement ...
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On Sunday, November 15, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order replacing the previous one issued on October 29, 2020. The new order goes into effect on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, and remains in effect for three weeks until December 8, 2020. As before, the authority for the order is MCL 333.2253 of the Public Health Code. The new order, described as a “pause to save lives,” includes a number of tightened restrictions on social gatherings, businesses, and schools. MDHHS also issued a Pause to Save Lives infographic ,  Social Gathering Guidance , and  Safe Social "Pods" guidance . ...
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​ 2020 PA 246 ,  247 ,  248 , and  249 , which address remote witnessing, notarization, visitation, and electronic signatures, were signed by the governor on November 5, 2020, effective that date. This new legislation allows electronic signatures and remote witnessing, notarization, and visitation on the terms laid out in Governor Whitmer’s now-invalidated executive orders.  See  In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court, Western District of Michigan, Southern Division ,  No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020). Here are the highlights: Savings clause.  The new legislation applies to any document executed on ...
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Karen Quinlan Valvo was appointed to the 15th Judicial District Court bench by Governor Rick Snyder on January 5, 2016, and elected on November 8, 2016, to complete the term. She presides over criminal, traffic, and landlord-tenant cases and the specialized Mental Health and Veterans Treatment Court dockets. We spoke to Judge Valvo in August of this year about changes in her courtroom in the wake of COVID-19.   What are the main procedural changes in your courtroom due to COVID-19? The court is slowly reopening to the public, in accordance with a phased process established by the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO). Different courts ...
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​ In the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s opinion  in  Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan  (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) ,  No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020), Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders promulgated under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, including orders governing visitation in residential care facilities, are no longer effective. On October 21, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an  order , effective October 26, 2020, under the Public Health Code setting out protocols for visitation to address the threat to public ...
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On Thursday, October 29, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new   Gatherings and Face Mask Order   replacing the   previous one   issued on October 9. The order is effective until rescinded. The new order includes some of the same provisions as well as a number of new ones placing limits on gatherings, imposing contact tracing requirements for restaurants, and more. Highlights include the following: Definitions of a number of terms, including childcare organizations, gathering, and symptoms of COVID-19 Indoor gathering restrictions as follows: 50 or fewer persons in a nonresidential indoor venue without fixed ...
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Lawyers Doing Good

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It’s no surprise that lawyers across the state of Michigan and across the country are volunteering their services for free during this uncertain time. But what exactly have they done and what are they continuing to do? Below is a roundup of how Michigan lawyers are making a big difference: “ A Lawyer Helps .” This program was organized through the State Bar of Michigan and offered to frontline health care workers in Michigan free assistance with preparation of medical or financial powers of attorney as well as simple or statutory wills.   COVID-19 Rapid Response Helpline . This service, also offered through the State Bar of Michigan, offers a free ...
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ICLE employees went fully remote on March 19, 2020, and we have been working from home (WFH) since. Every day our department has a daily check-in, and every day, I share with my colleagues an interesting photograph, idea, or website that in some way helped me get through sheltering in place and WFH. Here are a few of my favorites. Check out What Did Hubble See on Your Birthday? Then take a look at the 30 images in 30 years …. Humbling and right sizing. This article about functioning communities in the midst of COVID-19 is inspirational. This video of stunt women can start your day with a POW. Here are 50 Awesome Facts (About Everything) (i.e., ...
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Michigan Supreme Court Orders The Michigan Supreme Court has issued 19 administrative orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are summarized below by topic. Many of the administrative orders listed here reference executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer. However, in Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan   (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) , No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020) , the court unanimously held that Governor Whitmer did not have the authority under the Emergency Management Act of 1976 (EMA), MCL 30 .401 et seq. , to declare a “state of emergency” ...
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The Michigan Legislature acted quickly to vote in new legislation putting temporary pandemic measures in place for Michigan’s unemployment system following the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling invalidating a number of Governor Whitmer’s executive orders. On October 14, 2020, the Michigan Legislature approved more than a dozen bills related to COVID-19, including SB 886, which received unanimous support from both the house and senate. The bill provides much needed relief for both employees and employers affected by COVID-19-related employment issues by temporarily amending the Michigan Employment Security Act in the following important ways: Unemployment Arising ...
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Like most parents, I had to significantly adjust my work routine this past spring. My husband and I have been lucky enough to be able to work remotely, but doing so with our son at home definitely has its challenges. That said, now that my son and I have had some time to adapt to sharing an office space, I’m able to identify some undeniable advantages. If you’ve got a kiddo for an office mate or are in the market for one, consider the following benefits: Frequent snacks and ergonomic adjustments . If you’ve customarily found yourself in an energy rut first thing in the morning, later in the morning, right after lunch, towards the late afternoon, or even ...
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The   Michigan Supreme Court’s opinion   in   Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan  (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) ,   No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020), stripped Governor Whitmer of her authority to issue executive orders under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 (EPGA). Effective October 2, 2020, all of the governor’s orders entered after April 30, 2020, are void and unenforceable. The immediate effect of the court’s ruling was confirmed on October 12, 2020, when the court   denied a motion   filed by Governor Whitmer and the director of the Department of Health and Human Services ...
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On October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court), No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020). The court unanimously held that Governor Whitmer did not have the authority under the Emergency Management Act of 1976 (EMA), MCL 30.401 et seq., to declare a “state of emergency” or “state of disaster” based on COVID-19 after April 30, 2020. The court determined that a gubernatorial declaration of a state of emergency under the EMA may only last for 28 days absent legislative approval of an extension. A majority of the court ...
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Holding a presidential election in the midst of a global pandemic raises a myriad of issues, one of which is a shortage of poll workers. Experienced poll workers across the country, many of whom are over the age of 60 and at higher risk from coronavirus, may opt not to work the polls this year. In the face of a shortage of poll workers, the American Bar Association (ABA) together with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) have sought to mobilize lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals to safely assist in the November election as poll workers. The Poll Worker, Esq. ...
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In the wake of Michigan Supreme Court’s opinion in Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) ,  No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020), Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders promulgated under the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945, including orders governing visitation in residential care facilities, may become a nullity by the end of month. On October 6, 2020, the MDHHS issued an emergency order , effective immediately and until October 30, 2020, under the Public Health Code setting out protocols for visitation to address the threat to public health caused ...
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Michigan Supreme Court Orders The Michigan Supreme Court has issued 19 administrative orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are summarized below by topic. Many of the administrative orders listed here reference executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer. However, in Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan  (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) , No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020) , the court unanimously held that Governor Whitmer did not have the authority under the Emergency Management Act of 1976 (EMA), MCL 30 .401 et seq. , to declare a “state of emergency” ...
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So, is it all over?  In a word. No. On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a series of opinions which dealt with the Governor’s authority and powers under two laws – the 1976 law and the 1945 law.  Earlier decisions under the 1976 law and the Supreme Court Friday all agreed that the 1976 Act had a 28 day limit and that the Governor could not extend that on her own. As to the 1945 law, the Court rejected the challenges to arguments about reading the two laws as one and that somehow it was limited to responding to riots, it was limited to emergencies covering less than the whole state, that public safety (addressed) was different than public health ...
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On October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan  (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) ,  No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020). The court unanimously held that Governor Whitmer did not have the authority under the Emergency Management Act of 1976 (EMA), MCL 30.401 et seq., to declare a “state of emergency” or “state of disaster” based on COVID-19 after April 30, 2020. The court determined that a gubernatorial declaration of a state of emergency under the EMA may only last for 28 days absent legislative approval of an extension. A majority of the ...
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Late Friday afternoon, October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion in   Midwest Inst of Health, PLLC v Governor of Michigan  (In re Certified Questions from the United States Dist Court) ,   No 161492 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Oct 2, 2020), that states that the statutes Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been relying on as the source of her authority to issue executive orders either do not authorize the Governor’s actions or are unconstitutional. Despite the dramatic nature of the decision, it has no immediate legal effect. The short version: the Governor’s executive orders remain in effect for the time being, but there is going to be ...
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