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A Better Partnership

October 2015

Oct 2015
15
October 15, 2015

COA: Order regarding grandparenting time is a final judgment and therefore appealable by right

In the consolidated appeal of Varran ex rel Varran  v. Granneman, Nos. 321866; 322437, on order from the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals addressed the issue of whether an order regarding grandparenting time affects custody of a child under MCR 7.202(6)(a)(iii), or is otherwise appealable by right under MCR 7.203(A).  The Court held that the order in this case was a “final judgment” under MCL 7.202(6)(a)(iii) and, therefore, appealable by right.  In turn, the Court took jurisdiction over the appeals and addressed the defendant’s claims, concluding that the lower court did not err in granting an order of grandparenting time.   

Oct 2015
15
October 15, 2015

COA holds that a deed may remain valid even if the acknowledgment is defective

In In re Charles E. Estate of Duke, No. 321234, the Court of Appeals held that the probate court erred in setting aside a deed solely due to a defect in the acknowledgment without also finding a lack of good faith or valuable consideration, or the presence of another invalidating circumstance such as fraud, coercion, or undue influence. 

Oct 2015
12
October 12, 2015

MSC to hear mini-oral argument on whether evidence of “dissimilar” acts of sexual abuse is admissible in CSC case

The Michigan Supreme Court scheduled mini-oral argument to decide whether to grant leave to appeal in People v. Uribe, No. 151899.  This criminal appeal concerns the question of whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying the admission of testimony, under MCL 768,27a, that the defendant had molested another young victim, because the court found that the abuse was “dissimilar” to the abuse alleged in this case. Additionally, the Court has ordered the parties to address whether the Court of Appeals properly applied People v. Watkins, which held that MRE 403’s exclusionary power should be used even more sparingly in the context of evidentiary determinations made pursuant to MCL 768.27a, in reversing the trial court’s ruling.

Oct 2015
12
October 12, 2015

COA determines that a member of the public lacks standing because the statute provides no legal cause of action for the public

In White v. Highland Park Election Commission, No. 329222, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge MCL 168.674(2), an election statute, because her legal cause of action was no different than any other member of the public.  The statute requires appointment of at least one election inspector from each major party.  The Commission did not appoint any Republican inspectors.  Plaintiff brought suit.  The trial court determined:  1) the plaintiff lacked standing to challenge the political party composition because the statute designated that right to the county chairs of major political parties; and 2) the defendants did not violate MCL 168.674(2) because no Republican representatives applied to be an election inspector.

Oct 2015
12
October 12, 2015

COA: Estate planning documents that name the drafting attorney as a beneficiary are not per se invalid

The Michigan Court of Appeals held in In re Mardigian Estate, No. 319023, that a will and a trust that devised gifts to the drafting attorney and his family were not per se invalid.  Rather, the proponents of the documents must overcome the presumption of undue influence arising from the attorney-client relationship.

Oct 2015
09
October 09, 2015

COA: No time limit for trial court to correct Judgment of Sentence to impose lifetime electronic monitoring for CSC-I conviction

In People v Comer, No. 318854, the Michigan Court of Appeals reaffirmed that a defendant convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (“CSC-I”) is subject to mandatory lifetime electronic monitoring, even if the trial court mistakenly omitted the electronic monitoring from defendant’s first Judgment of Sentence.  The court further held that a trial court is empowered to correct an invalid sentence at any time, in this case 20 months later to provide for lifetime electronic monitoring. MCR 6.429(A) does not impose a time limit for correcting an invalid sentence.  

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