Miller v. Alabama: Mandatory Life Without Parole Sentences For Juveniles Are Unconstitutional

In the case of Miller v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court in an opinion authored by Justice Kagan ruled that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. The combined cases of Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs both involved 14 year old defendants convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Both sentences were mandated by state law. […]

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Changes to Michigan Minor in Possession Law Protect Minors Seeking Health Treatment

Picture the common situation where a minor has drank alcohol to the point of sickness. The minor, fearing legal repercussions, chooses not to seek health treatment, making a bad situation worse. Changes to the minor in possession law attempt to remedy the situation. Minors will now have immunity from prosecution for a minor in possession charge where; A minor presents himself or herself to a health facility for treatment. A minor accompanies another minor to the health facility […]

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Intrusive Jailhouse Searches

In Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of County of Burlington, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that intrusive searches of all inmates during the intake process are permitted. In 1998, Florence was arrested for fleeing a police officer in Essex County, New Jersey. He plead to two offenses and was sentenced to pay a fine in monthly installments. In 2003 he fell behind on the payments and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Florence paid the […]

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Michigan’s New Arson Law

Michigan’s new arson law goes into effect today. It has been completely rewritten to reflect the following; 1. First Degree Arson. The wilful or malicious burning of any of the following. First degree arson is a felony, punishable by life or any term of years, a $20,000 fine / 3 times the value of the destroyed property, or both. MCL 750.72. It is a B felony under the sentencing guidelines. MCL 7707.16c. a. A multi-unit building or in which 1 […]

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Missouri v. Frye: Attorneys Must Discuss Plea Bargain Offers With Criminal Defendants

Under the Sixth Amendment criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to effective assistance of counsel. In the case of Missouri v. Frye, the U.S. Supreme Court held that effective assistance means that defense counsel must communicate offers for plea bargains to the defendants. In the summer of 2007 Frye was charged with driving with a revoked license. Frye had been convicted of that same offense three times, so he was now charged with a felony punishable by up […]

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Howes v. Fields: The Supreme Court Clarifies Miranda Rules

The United States Supreme Court, in Howes v. Fields, rejected a per se rule that questioning a prison inmate in a room isolated from the general prison population about events occurring outside the prison is custodial interrogation. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution requires that a person in “custodial interrogation” be read Miranda rights, those rights which come from the case of Miranda v. Arizona. Fields was serving a sentence in a Michigan jail. He was taken to […]

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2012 Michigan Criminal Law Legislation

The following is an outline of criminal law legislation that was passed in 2012; I. New Crimes and Penalties A. Animal Fighting. 2012 PA 350-351. Effective Dec. 12, 2012. Makes animal fighting violation under MCL 750.49 predicate offenses for CCE violations. MCL 750.158g. 1. Animal fighting violations were also added to the omnibus forfeiture act. MCL 600.4702. B. Arson. 2012 PA 531-534. Effective April 2, 2013. Completely rewrites the arson statute. 1. First Degree Arson. The wilful or malicious burning of […]

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Smith v. Cain: The Prosecution’s Duty to Disclose Evidence

The case of Smith v. Cain did not break new legal ground but instead served to correct a past injustice. Smith was charged and convicted of killing five people during an armed robbery in Louisiana. At trial, the jury heard the testimony of a single witness, Larry Boatner.  Boatner testified that he was at a friend’s home when Smith and two other robbers entered the home, demanded valuables, and began shooting. He identified Smith at trial as the […]

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No Medical Marijuana Coverage in Worker’s Compensation or No Fault Insurance

Two Michigan laws that went into effect this past week will deny certain insurance benefits related to medical marijuana. Employers will not be required to provide reimbursement for expenses related to medical marihuana under worker’s compensation benefits. MCL 418.315a. Personal protection insurance benefits, also known as no-fault car insurance, will not be required to cover medical marijuana treatments. MCL 500.3107. Read the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act Check out ArborYpsi Law’s Michigan Medical Marijuana Act Blog     Contact […]

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People v. Tipolt: Foundation for Breath Test Evidence

In the case of People v. Tipolt, the Court of Appeals discusses the foundation requirements for the introduction of Breathalyzer evidence for trial. The Facts Defendant Tipolt was arrested in White Lake Township and charged with the equivalent of the driving while intoxicated crimes at the time the case was decided. In the District Court, the defense moved to suppress the results of the Breathalyzer machine. The defense claimed there a failure by the police to comply with […]

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