Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Q & A: Driver's license Restoration in Michigan

Q: Three years ago, I had a DUI in Michigan. It was a second offense for me, and my license was suspended, I think indefinitely. Can I get my license restored?

A: Probably. It depends on when the most recent conviction was and when you're able to apply.

Michigan controls the driving privilege through its Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will automatically suspend licenses for drivers who have two or more alcohol-related convictions.

First, you will need a copy of your driving record from any Secretary of State office (it was $8 the last time I checked). An attorney can help you review the record to see when you are eligible to apply for having your license re-instated. The record will clearly state the reason you were revoked/denied, and when the application can be made.

The second step is to start talking with people who know you to see if they are willing to submit a letter with your application, showing why your driving privilege should be restored. These are treated like character witnesses in your application, and the secretary of state treats them very seriously. They are referred to as "community proof of sobriety" in the application, so I suggest you take them seriously as well. It's best if you have at least 6 of these letters, and they will need to be signed, dated, and notarized. I prefer if the authors of the letters are people who have known the petitioner for many years, and have seen the progress from "drinking was a problem" for the petitioner, to "it is no longer a problem" for the petitioner.

You will also need to schedule a substance abuse evaluation and have a drug and alcohol screen done. This is further proof to the secretary of state that your behavior will not cause a concern when or if your driving privilege is restored.

Important note: Here's the thing: none of the materials in your application can be more than 90 days older than the date on which you submit the application. So that means that if you submit the application on August 1, nothing in the packet can be dated before May 3 (which is 90 days before August 1). So pay attention to how much time it is taking for the evaluation, and for friends to write their letters.

Have your attorney send his or her contact information to the evaluation center, and to your friends, so they can send the material directly to the attorney. Your attorney should review the materials with you before submitting to the secretary of state.

There is no charge for submitting the application.

Next, the secretary of state will respond with a hearing date. If you are an out-of-state applicant, there is no requirement that a hearing be scheduled. Again, your attorney will get notification of the date and get in touch with you. It's best for the attorney to prepare with you before the hearing, as the hearing officer will ask you a lot of questions as to why you were suspended/revoked, and how you have changed your life since then. If you are not able to satisfy the hearing officer that your behavior does not pose a threat to other drivers, you might not succeed at the hearing.

Do not expect a decision at the hearing. Although it is possible for a hearing officer to restore full driving privileges at the hearing, it does not happen very often.

The hearing officer will eventually issue a decision that either restores full privilege, restores a partial privilege (like using an interlock device for a year), or continues the suspension.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Law Professor and Journalist collborate to hold police accountable for actions

“I think this will be our Ferguson.”

Sitting in his office at the University of Chicago Law School just over a year ago, attorney and professor Craig Futterman was talking about a video almost no one had seen. It was a dashboard-camera recording of a white Chicago police officer killing a black teenager.

The details, then still unconfirmed, rang with an ominous echo of the police shooting of Michael Brown, whose death in a Missouri street sparked weeks of protest.

Futterman, who runs the university’s Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, hadn’t seen the video yet either; but he’d been pushing the city to make it public for months, ever since a confidential source had called and described it to him. “An execution,” Futterman’s source had called it. He searched for his own words. Finally he said simply, “This kid, his name is Laquan McDonald.”

Article here (via abajournal). 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Man asked neighbor for help in disposing of a body

DAVISON TWP., MI -- A 68-year-old man was arrested after he told his neighbor he killed a man, tried to cut up the body and needed help disposing of it.

Details emerged Wednesday, Sept. 7, during a preliminary exam in the case against Michael O. Murphy.

Murphy, 68, is charged with first-degree murder, felony firearm and disinterment of a dead body for the death of 31-year-old Daniel Parks.

Parks' body was discovered April 5 in a shed near Murphy's home at Davison East Mobile Home Park in Davison Township.

Murphy's neighbor, Duane Morrish, testified he was visiting Murphy in April when the man tried to recruit him to help dispose of a body.

Article here (via

Friday, September 2, 2016

Marijuana supporters petition Michigan Supreme Court to allow ballot in November

Believers in the right for Michigan voters to decide whether or not the state should legalize recreational marijuana use for people 21 and older are taking the fight to the state's highest court.

MI Legalize, the group behind the effort to place a question about legalizing recreational marijuana use on the November 2016 ballot, filed a motion for the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's ruling that the state has no obligation to count all of the the submitted voter signatures.

Read the article here (on mlive.com).


Friday, August 26, 2016

Free Family Law Seminar: August 29, 2016 (continues monthly)

Tuesday, August 29, 6pm-7:30 pm. Room 107, East Grand Rapids Community Center, 750 Lakeside Dr. SE.

Topics covered: Divorce with minor children: filing the Complaint, requesting temporary relief, planning for your judgment of divorce.

Attendance at this seminar does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Call for details, or to RSVP, as space is limited. 616-406-6451

6th Circuit: Michigan's Sex Offender Registration Act violates Ex Post Facto clause

Yesterday a federal appeals court ruled that retroactive application of Michigan's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) violates the Constitution's ban on ex post facto laws. In doing so, it offered a scathing assessment of such laws that suggests they make little sense even when they're constitutional.

Article here. (via reason.com 's Hit and Run blog)

 Responding to a challenge brought by five men and one woman who committed sex offenses before Michigan's legislature expanded SORA's requirements, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit concludes that the added provisions, although framed as civil regulations, are mainly punitive in their effects.