Valid but not clearly visible temporary license plate provides valid justification for traffic stop

Although a defendant has a valid temporary license plate, if the temporary plate is not clearly visible a police officer is justified in conducting a traffic stop of the vehicle.  In People v. Simmons (No. 331116), police conducted a traffic stop under these circumstances and the officer located a firearm during a subsequent consent search of the vehicle.  Defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony (felon-in-possession), possession of ammunition by a person convicted of a felony, receiving and concealing a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm), and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s grant of defendant’s motion to suppress, finding that the traffic stop was justified and therefore the physical evidence found in the car was validly obtained. 
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Only facts “admitted by the defendant” in court survive scrutiny under Lockridge

In another follow-up to People v. Lockridge, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that only facts admitted by the defendant to the court in a plea, in testimony, by stipulation, or in some other similar situation, or facts found by a jury, may be used to increase a defendant’s sentence.  In People v. Garnes, No. 324035, the trial court relied on facts defendant admitted to a police officer, but not admitted by the defendant in court, to impose a mandatory minimum sentence.  The Court of Appeals reversed the decision and remanded for resentencing, because the defendant’s statements, although admitted through the testimony of the police officer in court, were not “admitted by the defendant” to satisfy the requirements of Lockridge.  Judge Sawyer wrote separately, concurring only in the result of the Court of Appeal’s opinion.
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Tobacco Products Tax Act is clear and unambiguous

The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a trial court holding that the Tobacco Products Tax Act is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.  In People v. Assy, No. 326274, the Court of Appeals found that the statute, MCL 205.421 et seq., is unambiguous and provides people of ordinary intelligence reasonable notice of what is prohibited, the standard for determining that the statute passes constitutional muster.
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COA: Felony sentencing cannot be done by videoconference

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that felony sentencing by videoconference is not permitted under MCR 6.006 and also is fundamentally unfair.  In People v. Heller, No. 326821, based on the faulty procedure for sentencing, the court remanded the case for resentencing at defendant’s option.
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Trial courts must look to mandatory statutory sentencing range for convictions of indecent exposure as a sexually delinquent person not the sentencing guidelines

According to the Michigan Court of Appeals, the sentencing requirements under MCL 750.335a(2)(c) for indecent exposure as a sexually delinquent person are now mandatory following a 2005 amendment, and the sentencing guidelines are now advisory following the Michigan Supreme Court decision in People v. Lockridge, so courts must use the sentencing requirements under MCL 750.335a(2)(c) when the two are in conflict.  In People v. Campbell, No. 3234708, the Court of Appeals remanded for resentencing when the trial court sentenced the defendant based on the sentencing guidelines.
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COA holds that DHHS is not statutorily required to grant hardship waivers for Medicaid costs

The Michigan Court of Appeals in In re Estate of Klein, No. 329715, stood by its earlier decision In re Clark, No. 320720 (unpublished, May 28, 2015) and held that if an estate wishes to take advantage of the home-of-modest-value hardship waiver for Medicaid expenses, it must apply for the waiver. There is no statutory waiver that automatically applies if an estate fits the requirements of the exception. Read More

MSC: Unvested pension benefits can be modified by collective bargaining

In Arbuckle v General Motors LLC No. 151277, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a union may represent and bargain for already-retired employees, and may collectively bargain for contract provisions that adversely affect those retired employees' unvested benefits. Read More

COA determines 60-day appeal period applies to challenges to the issuance of permits to install control devices

In South Dearborn Environmental Improvement Association Inc. v. Department of Environmental Quality No. 326485, the Court of Appeals determined that MCR 7.119 governed, and requires appeals to be filed within 60 days of the granting of a permit to install certain control equipment. Since the petitioners appeal was within the 60-day period, the denial of the respondent’s motion to dismiss was upheld. Read More

MSC changes mind, denies leave in medmal setoff case

After briefing and oral argument in Greer v Advantage Health, No. 149494, the Michigan Supreme Court decided to vacate its original grant of leave to appeal because it is now unpersuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed. Greer is a medical malpractice case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the common-law rule of setoff among jointly liable defendants. Read More

MSC to review estate recovery program for Medicaid debt

The Michigan Supreme Court granted leave to appeal in the consolidated cases of In re Estate of Rasmer, Nos. 153356, 153370, 153371,153372, and 153373, concerning the Michigan estate recovery program for Medicaid benefits. Read More
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