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A Better Partnership

October 2016

Oct 2016
October 07, 2016

COA: Parole Board retains discretion where Governor commutes sentence to permit parole but fails to explicitly grant parole

If the Governor wishes to commute a prison sentence and order release or immediate parole, the Governor must explicitly express such instruction in the commutation. In Makowski v. Governor, No. 327396, the Court of Appeals held that absent express instruction in the Governor’s commutation that grants parole or release, discretion regarding parole decisions remains with the parole board.  Consequently, although plaintiff’s commutation made him eligible for parole, it did not mandate parole. 

Oct 2016
October 04, 2016

MSC vacates COA holding that $0.25 Friend of the Court assessment is a tax

In Trantham v. State Disbursement Unit, No. 153191, the Michigan Supreme Court vacated the portion of the Court of Appeals’ opinion holding that a $0.25 assessment for the Attorney General’s operations fund—which the Friend of the Court (FOC) collected from child support payers under MCL 600.2538(1)—was a tax.  It also vacated the Court of Appeals’ ruling remanding the case to the Court of Claims to determine the constitutionality of the assessment.  The Court stated that the issue of whether the assessment was a constitutional tax was not raised by either party and was, therefore, unnecessary to the contested issue of whether the FOC’s user fee violated the Takings Clause and substantial due process. 

Oct 2016
October 01, 2016

MSC to hear oral arguments on whether drunk driving in a private driveway violates criminal statute

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on whether drunk-driving criminal law applies in private residential driveways. In People v. Rea, No. 153908, the court directed the parties to prepare supplemental briefs for consideration of a portion of the Michigan Vehicle Code. Previously heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals, this case deals with a defendant who drove 25 feet down his driveway, while intoxicated, before stopping his car. He was arrested while walking back up his driveway, leaving the court to determine whether he had violated MCL 257.625(1). This statute prohibits drunk driving upon a “highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles.” The issue, according to the court, is “whether the location where the defendant was operating a vehicle was a place” open to the general public. The Court of Appeals previously found that the defendant’s driveway is no such place. Click here for a more detailed summary of the opinion from the Court of Appeals.

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