The Supreme Court Decides Arizona’s Controversial Immigrant Policing Bill in Arizona v. United States

In 2010, Arizona enacted a bill titled the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The stated purpose of the bill was to “discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.” There are four provisions of the bill that were at issue in Arizona v. U.S.  Two provisions created new state criminal offenses. Section 3 makes it is a misdemeanor for failure to comply […]

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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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People v. Bono: Is The Michigan Gross Indecency Laws Limited to Certain Acts?

The Michigan Court of Appeals in People v. Bono discusses the Michigan Gross Indecency statute. To be specific, the Court answered the question of whether masturbation was an act of gross indecency, and whether the jury instructions for gross indecency must be limited to penetration, fellatio, and cunnilingus, or can be expanded to other acts What Happened in the Case of People v. Bono Defendants were in a bathroom stall at Meijers. One defendant was masturbating the other […]

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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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People v. Lino: Michigan Supreme Court Focuses on Constitutionality of Gross Indecency Law

The Michigan Supreme Court took up some important issues related to the Michigan Gross Indecency Law in the consolidated cases of People v. Lino and People v. Bashier. Issues of the Case There were four issues in these cases: Is the Michigan Gross Indecency Statute unconstitutionally vague? Whether the standard of common sense of the community should be the standard for gross indecency cases Whether oral sex in public is an act of gross indecency Whether the specific […]

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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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