Criminal Law and Procedure

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act Does Not Permit Collective Growing Operations

The Michigan Supreme Court in People v. Bylsma ruled that collective marijuana growing operations are not permitted under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Section 4 of the MMMA will not provide immunity for prosecution for caregivers and patients who grow in a collective setting. Defendant Bylsma was the registered primary caregiver of medical marijuana for two qualifying patients. Bylsma owned a warehouse in Grand Rapids where he grew marijuana for his two patients and assisted other caregivers and patients […]

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Changes in Michigan City Marijuana Laws

In the November election several cities in Michigan voted to amend marijuana possession ordinances. This does not mean that marijuana possession is now legal in these cities. People may still be charged and prosecuted under Michigan state law. Marijuana possession under state law is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year imprisonment, a $2,000 fine, or both. It remains to be seen how police officials will react to the new laws in those cities. […]

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The Michigan Secretary of State Eliminates Drivers Responsibility Fees for Some Offenses

Beginning on October 1, 2012, drivers will no longer have to pay driver responsibility fees to the Michigan Secretary of State for certain offenses. Fees for many of the more serious traffic offenses, such as drinking and driving and reckless driving, remain in place. Drivers who are convicted of an offense before October 1, 2012, must still pay the driver responsibility fees on these offenses. Here is a list of the fees to be eliminated: The $150 fee, […]

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Search Warrants and the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

The Michigan Court of Appeals in People v. Brown held that police are not obligated to to determine whether a person suspected of using or growing marijuana is doing so legally under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act before applying for a search warrant. In 2007, Defendant Brown’s former roommate informed police authorities that Brown was manufacturing marijuana in his residence. The police conducted a search of his garbage bins left for pickup, finding pieces of fresh marijuana. Based on […]

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The Michigan Supreme Court Delivers Victory For Medical Marijuana Rights

In the cases of People v. Kolanek, King the Michigan Supreme Court decided several important issues regarding the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in a win for medical marijuana users and advocates. The Court ruled that a defendant asserting the Section 8 defense is not required to establish the requirements of Section 4. The defendant may raise the Section 8 defense at trial after losing on a pre-trial motion. Also, in asserting the Section 8 defense the defendant must show […]

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The Court of Appeals Discusses Sections 4 and 8 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in People v. Kiel

In People v. Kiel, the police discovered marijuana plants growing on defendant Kiel’s property after a routine aerial surveillance. The police found 66-69 plants and seized 30 plants after Kiel produced medical marijuana cards for three people. Kiel was ultimately convicted for manufacturing marijuana. In a pretrial motion, the Kiel sought dismissal of the charge based on the immunity provided in Section 4 and the affirmative defense in Sections 8 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Section 4 provides […]

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People v. Nunley: Driving on a Suspended License Cases

The Michigan Supreme Court in People v. Nunley discusses an evidentiary issue for cases involving driving on a suspended license. The Court decided that the introduction at trial of the certificate of mailing showing a notice of license suspension or revocation does not require a Department of State employee to testify. Driving on a Suspended License Law For the offense of driving on a suspended license, it must be shown that the Secretary of State gave notice of […]

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Disclosure Of Firearms Records Is A Civil Infraction

The Freedom of Information Act does not apply to firearms records. I cannot go to my local township and finds who owns a gun in my town. This law protects the privacy of firearms owners. MCL 28.421b makes it a civil infraction for a peace officer or an authorized system user to disclose a firearms record to anyone except a peace officer or authorized system user. The disclosure must also be for one of the following purposes; The […]

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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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