Maryland v. King: Police May Take DNA Samples from People Arrested for Serious Crimes

The Supreme Court in Maryland v. King ruled that taking DNA samples from individuals arrested for serious crimes does not violate the Fourth Amendment, reasoning that the procedure was no different than photographing and fingerprinting. Justice Scalia authored a scathing dissent, writing that, “Today’s judgment will, to be sure, have the beneficial effect of solving more crimes; then again, so would the taking of DNA samples from anyone who flies on an airplane (surely the Transportation Security Administration […]

Continue Reading

Medical Marijuana Patients Gain Some Protection From OWI Laws in Michigan Supreme Court Ruling

The Michigan Supreme Court in People v. Koon ruled that medical marijuana patients cannot be convicted of a zero-tolerance law that prohibits drivers from having any amount of marijuana in their blood stream. For a medical marijuana patient to be convicted of an operating while impaired offense involving marijuana the prosecution must now prove that the driver was actually under the influence of marijuana while driving. “While we need not set the exact parameters of when a person […]

Continue Reading

Moncrieffe v. Holder: Marijuana Distribution Crimes No Longer Lead To Automatic Deportation For Noncitizens

The U.S. Supreme Court in Moncrieffe v. Holder today ruled that a marijuana distribution crime is no longer an offense that will lead to automatic deportation for noncitizens. Before today’s ruling such crimes were considered “aggravated felonies,” a class of offenses that foreclose the opportunity for noncitizens to obtain discretionary relief from deportation. For a marijuana distribution crime to be an aggravated felony now it must be established that the defendant either distributed the marijuana for payment or […]

Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Requires Warrants For Blood Draws From Drunk Driving Suspects

In Missouri v. McNeely, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to adopt a rule that would permit police officers to draw a drunk driving suspect’s blood without a warrant under any circumstance. McNeely was pulled over by a highway patrol officer at about two in the morning. The officer observed that McNeely had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and smelled of alcohol.  McNeely performed poorly on several field-sobriety tests and declined a breath test. He was arrested and taken to […]

Continue Reading

Three More Weeks To Take Advantage of Washtenaw County Courts Traffic Ticket Amnesty Program

Until the end of April, the 14A and 14B district courts are waiving all penalties and late fees for outstanding tickets for traffic civil infractions and parking violations dated on or before December 31, 2011. These courts encompass the cities of Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, Saline, and Chelsea. The license clearance fee for suspended driver licenses is not waived and must be paid before a license can be reinstated. To learn more information or to pay a […]

Continue Reading

Organized Retail Crime

A new law targeting organized shoplifting rings goes into effect today. Organized retail crime is now a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years, a $5,000 fine, or both. Restitution will likely be ordered. Read the full Organized Retail Crime Act. A person is guilty of organized retail crime when that person does any of the following; 1. Knowingly commits an organized retail crime. 2. Organizes, supervises, finances, or otherwise manages or assists another person […]

Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Limits the Use of Drug-Sniffing Dogs in Win For Fourth Amendment Rights

In the case of Florida v. Jardines, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government’s use of a drug-sniffing dog to investigate the home and surrounding area is an unconstitutional  “search” under the Fourth Amendment in a win for privacy rights. In 2006, two detectives brought a drug-sniffing dog to the front porch of Florida resident Jardines. The dog sniffed around the front porch of the home and then sat down near the base of the front door, […]

Continue Reading

Michigan Criminal Trespass Laws

Trespassing is entry onto another person’s land without permission.  Michigan state law forbids trespassing and contains provisions for trespassing in specific situations. Townships and cities generally have ordinances prohibiting trespassing that are not listed here. In addition to fighting the trespass charge, there are several options to keep a trespass conviction off your permanent record, such as deferred sentencing or Holmes Youthful Trainee status.                             […]

Continue Reading

The Sixth Circuit Rules That Mortgage Foreclosure is Debt Collection Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

In Glazer v. Chase Home Finance, LLC et al., Glazer sought to include mortgage foreclosure as a debt collection under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was. The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from taking certain actions against debtors. The Act is designed to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive debt collection practices and to protect debt collectors from competition that employs unfair practices. The majority view among the federal […]

Continue Reading

The Washtenaw County Circuit Court Rules That City Zoning laws Are Not Preempted By The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

In the first court challenge to a city’s ability to enforce zoning laws concerning medical marijuana activity, the Washtenaw County Circuit Court held that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act does not preempt city zoning ordinances. Previous challenges to city zoning laws regarding the MMMA, such as in Ter Beek v. City of Wyoming, were based on a city’s attempt to ban medical marijuana activity because federal law makes such activity illegal. Last year, an Ypsilanti Township couple was […]

Continue Reading