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One Court of Justice Blog

Jul 2017
July 27, 2017

MSC imposes nine month suspension on District Court Judge for interfering with a criminal investigation and misrepresentations

In In re Simpson, No. 150404, the Michigan Supreme Court reviewed the determination and recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission ("JTC") that District Court Judge Cedric Simpson be removed from office for interfering with the police investigation and subsequent prosecution of his judicial intern for operating a vehicle while inoxticated, and for making misrepresentations in the course of the JTC investigation with respect to contact with the intern on the morning of the accident and with respect to the purpose of extensive communications with the intern.  In its de novo review, the majority of the Court held that the interference claims, and the misrepresentation claim regarding the purpose of the communications were supported by a preponderance of the evidence.  The majority then analyzed the sanction for those violations in light of precedent and concluded that a nine month suspension was proportional to the violations that had been established.  In a partial dissent, Justices Markman and Zahra contend that, in setting the sanction, the Court should have also considered other misconduct (misrepresentations under oath) that were established by the record by not asserted by JTC. 

Jul 2017
July 26, 2017

MSC grants MOAA to consider whether defendant’s failure to prove plain error precludes finding of ineffective assistance of trial counsel

The Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument in People v. Randolph, No. 153309 to address two related issues. First, whether a defendant’s failure to prove plain error automatically precludes a finding of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Second, whether the plain error’s prejudice standard (“affecting substantial rights”) announced in People v. Carines is the same as the ineffective assistance’s prejudice standard (“reasonable probability” of a different outcome) in Strickland v. Washington.

Jul 2017
July 21, 2017

COA: Criminal defendant cannot withdraw plea even if court erroneously informed defendant that maximum possible sentence longer than correct maximum sentence

In People v. Winters, No. 333009, the Court of Appeals held that telling a Defendant that the maximum possible sentence for attempted arson was longer than the correct maximum sentence did not prejudice the Defendant such that he would be allowed to withdraw his plea.

Jul 2017
July 20, 2017

COA determines that public school employees are required to be deemed totally and permanently disabled by an independent medical advisor to receive disability benefits

In Escott v. Public School Employees’ Retirement Board, No. 333264, the Court of Appeals determined that the Public School Employees’ Retirement Board (“PSERB”) has no authority to grant non-duty disability retirement benefits to a public school employee unless and Independent Medical Advisor has deemed the employee totally and permanently disabled.

Jul 2017
July 19, 2017

COA: Schools Boards do not have to recall laid off teachers to fill job openings in different subject matter

In Southfield Educ. Ass’n v. Bd. of Educ. of the Southfield Pub. Schools, No. 331087, the Court of Appeals determined that school boards reserve the right not to hire teachers who have been previously laid off and have high evaluation scores if they have not been evaluated for teaching the subject matter the job opening includes. Teachers with high effectiveness evaluation ratings who have been laid off are not obligated to be recalled by school boards for open positions if their evaluations are not for the subject matter of the position being advertised. However, the Court of Appeals has given the school boards the discretion to make such appointments if they deem it proper.

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