Friday, August 28, 2015

Michigan's licensing board rejects adding autism to medical marijuana treatment under MMMA

In a four-page “Final Determination,” Zimmer said that allowing the use of medical marijuana for autism might do more harm than good to mildly afflicted autistic children.

That view followed corroborating testimony in Lansing by Dr. Harry Chugani, chief of pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and a national authority on autism.

Article here (via freep). 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Juvenile Plaintiff's case dismissed regarding MDOC's failure to protect them from abuse

The Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit filed by seven juvenile prisoners who alleged prison staff didn't do enough to protect them from sexual and physical abuse.
In a decision dated Tuesday, the court ruled the seven John Does who were the plaintiffs in the lawsuit did not meet the disclosure requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The court also disagreed with the plaintiffs' assertion that an amendment to the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act violates the rights of prisoners because it does not allow them to sue the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for civil rights violations.

"We have reviewed all remaining issues and find them to be without merit or unnecessary for the disposition of this appeal," wrote Judges Michael J. Riordan and Pat Donofrio.

Article here (via mlive). 

Federal Appeals Court holds that chicken sandwich isn't copyrightable

A ham sandwich, as popular lore has it, may well be indictable.

But a chicken sandwich isn’t copyrightable, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Agreeing with a trial court’s decision, the 1st U.S. Court of Appeals on Friday held (PDF) that a fast-food worker seeking a $10 million share of the profits allegedly reaped from his chicken sandwich concept is out of luck.

Article here.  (via abajournal).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Not exactly a shot gun wedding, but: Texas man marries to avoid 15 days in jail from the judge.

At a July hearing, Judge Randall Rogers offered Bundy probation in the Smith County case, but conditioned it on Bundy’s getting counseling, writing out Bible verses and marrying Jaynes within 30 days, says the station, which reviewed the court transcript. Otherwise, Bundy was going to get a 15-day jail term.

Bundy was willing to do the time, but both he and Jaynes were concerned he would lose his job if they didn’t marry. So, although unhappy about the rush to matrimony, they tied the knot in a summer courthouse wedding.

Article here (via aba journal).

PS - the couple already had had plans to marry, but didn't feel comfortable being rushed into it. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Rosalyn Bliss makes Grand Rapids history as first female mayor of GR

A day after her 40th birthday, Rosalynn Bliss has been elected the city's 59th mayor, and she becomes the first female to win the job.

Rosalynn Bliss introduced as Grand Rapids mayor-elect Bliss received two-thirds of the vote Tuesday, Aug. 4, to win the city's mayoral primary election.

A commissioner representing the city's Second Ward since 2006, Bliss received solid support throughout Grand Rapids and cruised past the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election in November. Runner-up Robert Dean, a former city commissioner and state lawmaker, received 30 percent of the vote while John George and Willard Lee had little impact with a combined 4 percent.

Article here (via mlive).

Related: This election means that a seat will be available on the Grand Rapids City Commission, second ward. Who will be appointed? Mayor Heartwell continues to serve as mayor until January, then is unseated by Bliss. Anyone who's at least 18 years old and who has lived for at least six months in the city's Second Ward, which is mostly east of the Grand River north of Wealthy Street, is eligible for appointment.. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Michigan Supreme Court says judges don't have to follow sentencing guidelines

Who should decide how a defendant is sentenced? A jury or a judge?

This was the question before the Michigan Supreme Court in Lockridge.

This case involved a defendant who had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Oakland County.  The mandatory sentencing guidelines scoring called for a minimal sentence of 43 to 86 months.

However, the sentencing judge found that the minimum sentence should be increased because there were factors not accounted for in the scoring of the guidelines.  These included a probation violation, the defendant killing his wife in front of their three children, leaving the children at home with their mother dead on the floor, and prior domestic violence.

Article here.

Eventually, this case was heard by the Michigan Supreme Court, based on the use of the sentencing guidelines. Sentencing guidelines outline what the penalties for a particular crime should be (say, forgery, which is a felony of one year to up to 14 years), and whether the minimum sentence should be enhanced or increased based on other factors.

In an opinion released July 29, 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court held that in view of existing United States Supreme Court precedent, Michigan’s sentencing guidelines were unconstitutional to the extent that they require judicial fact finding beyond facts admitted by the defendant or found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt to score offense variables that increase the minimum sentence range.

Man with gunshot wounds won't cooperate with investigators

The victim, so far, has refused to cooperate with investigators and is offering little information on what happened. Police are working to identify a possible suspect.

Article here.  (via mlive).

The alleged shooting occurred in an area where another shooting recently took place.

"W" reports for jury duty

Former President George W. Bush reported for jury duty in Dallas on Wednesday, but he was not selected to serve.

Bush posed for photos and was personable and very friendly, potential juror Sheri Coleman told the Dallas Morning News Scoop Blog. Another potential juror, Desiree Bryant, posted a photo of her posing with Bush on Twitter, Zap2it reports.

Article here (via aba journal). 

Cecil the lion - if the US were to prosecute this, what would the legal basis be?

Following news that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was seeking to question a Minnesota dentist who has been linked to a high-profile lion-poaching case in Zimbabwe, Africa, observers wondered what the legal basis might be.

There is speculation that American officials may be looking for possible violations of the Lacey Act, reports Reuters.

If so, any potential prosecution would likely be an uphill battle, experts say, since the connection between the U.S. statute and illegal hunting activities in foreign countries is tenuous at best.

Article here (aba journal).