Criminal Law and Procedure

Could Oregon Become The First State to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms?

Voters in Oregon may see a 2020 ballot initiative to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin, sometimes referred to as “magic mushrooms” or just “shrooms” are a type of natural hallucinogenic drug. What Would the Law Do? This law would reduce most criminal penalties for psilocybin manufacture, delivery, use, and possession. The law would also allow licensed psilocybin manufacture, possession and administration by or to qualifying adults. Legal Status of Psilocybin The current legal status for magic mushrooms is that […]

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Felon in Possession of a Firearm Charges Case From Court of Appeals

Firearms charges can be some of the most serious types of charges. Especially convictions for felony-firearm, which carries mandatory terms of years in prison. The case of People v. Parkmallory discusses a case involving firearms charges. The Case Parkmallory was charged with felon in possession of a firearm and felony-firearm. The allegations in the case were that Parkmallory and his girlfriend took turns firing a gun into the air on New Years Eve. Before trial, Parkmallory’s attorney stipulated […]

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Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Signed Into Law

Governor Whitmer signed a civil asset forfeiture reform bill today, limiting the ability of police officers to keep property they seize when an arrest is made. Under the new law, police will not be able to keep property under $50,000 unless the person is convicted of a crime. Why is this important? Nearly 1,000 people over the last three years were arrested, had their property taken by police and not returned but were not convicted of a crime. […]

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Denver Becomes First in County to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms

Voters in Denver passed a law decriminalizing the use of “magic mushrooms.” What the Law Says Denver voted to effectively decriminalize mushrooms. Technically, the vote means the police department will make the enforcement of laws regarding mushrooms as the lowest department priority. Are Magic Mushrooms a Major Legal Problem? Let’s look at the numbers. The Denver District Attorney’s Office prosecuted 9,000 drug cases between 2016 and 2018. Of those 9,000, only 11 were for mushroom related offenses. 3 […]

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John Doe v. David Baum: University of Michigan Sexual Misconduct Case

This Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case establishes a right of an accused to cross examine an accuser in a university sexual misconduct case where credibility is an issue. It is an important legal development for misconduct cases. Why is that important legally? Because credibility is an issue in basically all these cases. Universities are more and more responsible for adjudicating claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This can be uncharted for a university. Universities have been […]

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The Michigan Court of Appeals Limits Police Ability to Extend Traffic Stops to Get Drug Sniffing Dogs

The Michigan Court of Appeals in People v. Kavanaugh decided a great case for Fourth Amendment rights in Michigan. What Happened in the Case? The police pulled over Kavanaugh’s vehicle on I-96 on the west side of the state. The officer’s reason for pulling the vehicle over was a poorly fixed license plate and Kavanaugh’s failure to use a turn signal when making a lane change. Once pulled over, the officer asked Kavanaugh for consent to search the […]

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Cyberbullying Laws Take Effect in Michigan

Effective March 27th new cyberbullying laws have been implemented in the state of Michigan. A rise in the use of social media has moved traditional bullying to the world of computers. The new law seeks to deter that behavior.  What is Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying includes one or more of the following: Communicating through social media the intent to threaten violence towards another or make the individual fearful for their well-being or death. Publishing a threat on social media that […]

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What is Felony-Firearm?

Felony-firearm is the offense of carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony. The penalties are steep. Penalties for a Felon-Firearm Conviction A felony-firearm conviction results in a mandatory minimum incarceration of two years in prison. A second felony-firearm conviction results in a mandatory minimum of 5 years imprisonment. A third or subsequent conviction means a mandatory minimum of ten years. The mandatory minimum sentence is consecutive and in addition to a conviction for another felony, including […]

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California Suspends Death Penalty

The governor of California has suspended the death penalty, at least for the time he is in office. Currently, there are 737 inmates on death row in California. This is the largest amount of prisoners on death row for any state in the country. The prisoners will not be executed on death row during the governor’s term. The method of killing inmates, lethal injection, has been eliminated. In addition, the execution chamber has been shut down in San […]

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Supreme Court Ruling Could Limit Fines in Criminal Cases

A big ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court today could signal changes for the justice system. In Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court ruled that State may not impose excessive fines in criminal cases. This means if the government imposes fines or fees for a convictions, those fines or fees must be proportionate to the offense. In this case, the the State of Indiana had seized a defendant’s $40,000 car upon conviction for a crime where he was […]

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