A newly launched legal aid clinic, Capuchin Soup Kitchen Legal Clinic, was created to serve the needs of metro-Detroit's 35,000 homeless people.
The clinic, a collaboration between Bodman PLC and the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, began operating in February, to fill the gap left by the Homeless Experience Legal Protection (H.E.L.P.) clinic's hiatus. Word spread quickly about the new clinic and lines of people in need of legal assistance began to form.
The clinic is held twice a month on Thursday mornings. Volunteer attorneys from Bodman, Dykema, Kitch, Dickinson Wright, Jaffe, Ford, and Clark and Schoenbeck have consulted with metro Detroit's homeless population about legal issues, including outstanding tickets, child support issues, employment matters, obtaining birth certificates and IDs and landlord-tenant issues.
In its first few months of opeation, the CSK Legal Clinic has helped dozens of low-income people.
If you are interested in volunteering at the CSK Legal Clinic, contact Kim Paulson at Bodman at (313) 392-1068 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The task force was chaired by former SBM president and retired Berrien County Chief Judge Alfred Butzbaugh. Justice Bridget McCormack served as the court's liaison to the task force and Supreme Court Commissioner Nelson Leavitt served as its reporter. Other task force members included SBM Commissioner Danielle Brown, SBM Past President Thomas Cranmer, Michigan State Bar Foundation Board Trustee Peter Ellsworth, SBM Past Commissioner John McSorley, SBM Commissioner Colleen Pero, SBM Commissioner and Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael Riordan, SBM President-Elect Thomas Rombach, University of Michigan Law School Professor and former Dean John Reed, Michigan State Representative and Speaker Pro Tempore John Walsh, SBM Executive Director Janet Welch and SBM Representative Assembly Vice Chair Vanessa Williams.
In a 5-2 opinion released today, the Michigan Supreme Court declared that the one parent doctrine is an unconstitutional violation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Justice McCormack wrote for the majority:
The one parent doctrine permits a court to interfere with a parent’s right to direct the care, custody, and control of the children solely because the other parent is unfit, without any determination that he or she is also unfit. In other words, the one-parent doctrine essentially imposes joint and several liability on both parents, potentially divesting either of custody, on the basis of the unfitness of one. Merely describing the doctrine foreshadows its constitutional weakness.
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Julia Owdziej to the Washtenaw County Probate Court.
Prior to her appointment, Owdziej has served as deputy register at the Washtenaw Probate Court and as a referee at the Washtenaw County Juvenile Court. She previously worked as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Washtenaw County and as a Michigan assistant attorney general.
Owdziej fills the seat vacated by Judge Nancy C. Wheeler.
In a five to two decision released yesterday, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that victims can have travel expenses paid for them by perpetrators of crime. The decision overruled an earlier decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The majority wrote that travel costs can be considered part of full restitution payments:
The issue is whether these statutes authorize courts to order a defendant to pay restitution for the reasonable travel expenses that victims incur while securing their stolen property and attending restitution hearings. We conclude that the statutes do authorize such payments because they require courts to order full restitution, i.e., restitution that is complete and maximal.
Justices Markman and McCormack dissented from the decision, saying nothing in the law says judges can make defendants pay travel expenses.
In the past few years the state has operated trial courts to give Michigan's judiciary a chance to measure the outcomes of problem courts. Three types of courts have run since 2011, including drug courts, mental health courts and veterans treatment courts.
From Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2013, drug courts handled 8,626 cases; about half of the cases were in a sobriety court program and the other half were in district court, juvenile courts or family dependency programs. Those who participated in sobriety court programs did significantly better than those in other programs. While 65 percent of offenders successfully completed sobriety court programs, less than half successfully completed adult circuit and adult district court programs. Recidivism rates among sobriety court participants were more than three times lower than those of their counterparts.
During the same period, 926 offenders participated in eight mental health courts. The recidivism rate for participants in mental health courts was four percent, compared to a 22 percent recidivism among their comparison group in other courts. This program was so successful the Michigan legislature introduced legislation in May of 2013 to codify and fund mental health courts.
Data gathering on the state's eight veterans treatment courts is still ongoing. They follow the drug court model, and incorporate elements of mental health courts to help veterans find sobriety, recovery and stability.