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One Court of Justice Blog

Jan 2018
January 20, 2018

MSC questions whether Grand Rapids implemented a policy of photographing and fingerprinting innocent pedestrians to fail to show ID during investigatory stop

It is unclear whether photographing and fingerprinting during an investigation of suspicious activity is an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, as the Court of Appeals noted in Johnson v. Vanderkooi, No. 330536.  And that is why the lower court concluded that Grand Rapids police officers were immune from liability for doing so.  You can find our blog post on that case here.  But the Michigan Supreme Court has nevertheless scheduled oral argument on the question of whether Grand Rapids police officers have implemented such a policy or custom instituted by the defendant City of Grand Rapids.  Johnson v. Vanderkooi, No. 156057.  This most certainly means the MSC is also doubing the Court of Appeals' conclusion that such activity would probably not violate the Fourth Amendment.

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.

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.  

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