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One Court of Justice Blog

Jun 2017
June 30, 2017

MSC: The ecclesiastical abstention doctrine does not limit Courts' subject matter jurisdiction

In Winkler v. Marist Fathers of Detroit, Inc., No. 152889, the Michigan Supreme Court held that though the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine (the “Doctrine”) does not allow a court to substitute its opinion for that of a religious entity on matters that are ecclesiastical in nature, it does not divest a court of jurisdiction over claims as a whole just because they involve an ecclesiastical question.

Jun 2017
June 28, 2017

Pay-up: Constitutional to require criminal defendants to pay costs

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently upheld the constitutionality of three Michigan laws that impose costs on criminal defendants. In the consolidated cases of People v. Shenoskey, No. 332735, and People v. Crawford, No. 333375, the court examined the constitutionality of three statutes imposing costs on criminal defendants. MCL 769.1j(1)(a) allows a sentencing court to order a criminal defendant to pay $68.00 if the defendant is convicted of a felony.  MCL 771.3c(1) requires that, for each order of probation for a defendant, the department of corrections shall collect a supervision fee of not more than $135,00 per month for each month of probation, not to exceed 60 months. MCL 600.4803(1) imposes a 20% penalty for failure of a defendant to pay a penalty, fee, or cost within 56 days of the due date.  The defendants did not properly preserve their issues for appeal, so the court reviewed for plain error.  The court held that all three stautes were constitutional.  

May 2017
May 19, 2017

MSC: Trial court has discretion to hold evidentiary hearing to determine if search warrant affidavit is sufficient for probable cause

In People v Franklin, No. 152840, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a trial court may exercise its discretion and hold an evidentiary hearing to review the veracity of an affidavit on which a search warrant is based to determine whether the search warrant was supported by probable cause. Under Franks v Delaware, 438 US 154 (1978), a trial court must hold a hearing at a defendant's request whenever a defendant offers evidence sufficient to demonstrate a substantial preliminary showing that the affiant made a false statement—knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth—and the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause required to issue the warrant. However, in a unanimous opinion, the Court in Franklin determined that Franks merely governs when a trial court must hold an evidentiary hearing under the Fourth Amendment; however, even in the absence of a substantial preliminary showing under Franks, a trial court may hold an evidentiary hearing to review an affidavit supporting a search warrant to determine whether the warrant was supported by probable cause.

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