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Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Law Blog

Michigan's changing medical marijuana dispensary law

When the state of Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008, it forgot to set up a system for opening and operating dispensaries. After a state supreme court ruling that marijuana dispensaries were not legal businesses, many dispensaries closed, either voluntarily by the owners or after being raided by the police.

Several dispensaries still remain in Michigan, but in a legal limbo, potentially limiting access for patients.

Your Education’s Impact In Criminal Court

Statistics make clear that a high school diploma increases a person’s lifetime earning potential in the U.S. Now there is research that indicates graduating from high school also benefits a person if he or she is convicted of a crime.

The study, published in Crime & Delinquency, reports that high school graduates are 10 percent less likely to be sent to prison than those without a high school diploma. The study also found that high school graduates who are sent to prison receive shorter sentences than those who have not graduated high school – 1.4 percent shorter, to be exact.

Grand Rapids man blames himself for son's conviction

The father of a Grand Rapids man sentenced to 13 months in prison for deleting financial documents says he and his son made a terrible mistake. The older man blames himself for his son’s legal problems and says he was just being a good son.

MLive reports that the two men own three bars in the Grand Rapids area. Prosecutors and the IRS claim they embezzled $400,000 from the businesses and then destroyed records. On April 12, the younger defendant was sentenced to a year and a month in prison, and a year of supervised released. The father’s sentencing hearing is on July 10.

Does Michigan have too many crimes?

The old saying tells us “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” On the other hand, if there are so many laws that we can break one without even knowing it, there may be cause for concern.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Michigan think tank, believes there are too many crimes on the books in the state. The group calls it “overcriminalization,” and in a 2014 report discussed in MLive found that Michigan created an average of 45 new crimes per year from 2008 to 2013. Things slowed down slightly in 2015-16, when legislators made 30 new crimes each year.

Michigan woman charged with embezzling from charity

Prosecutors claim that a Michigan woman took money raised by a charity she ran and used it for personal expenses. She has been charged with embezzlement related to nearly $20,000 in allegedly misused donations.

The Michigan Attorney General’s office told WDIV that the woman held several charitable gaming events a poker room in Flint between January 2011 and October 2013. The events were to raise money for Community Kids Martial Arts Science, which taught martial arts to children, as well as providing tutoring and other opportunities.

Michigan brothers both face multiple charges of sexual assaults

It is a relatively short drive from Grand Rapids to Calhoun County, Michigan. That is where a pair of brothers each faces multiple charges of sexual assaults on children.

According to a recent news article, the Battle Creek brothers were arraigned on four counts each of first-degree criminal sexual conduct

Ending Training of a Controversial Police Interrogation Tactic

The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of the U.S. criminal justice system. It dictates that a person should not be presumed guilty merely because he or she has been accused of a crime. However, that protection serves no purpose in cases where a confession has been coaxed out of someone during an interrogation even though the individual knows he or she did not commit the crime.

It is unfathomable to most people who have not been subjected to a police interrogation why anyone would admit to a crime they did not commit. But the statistics on false confessions are alarming. According to the Innocence Project, more than one out of four people wrongfully convicted but later exonerated by DNA evidence made a false confession or incriminating statement.

Why mental competence matters in criminal law

In Michigan, a criminal trial cannot proceed if the defendant is mentally incapable of participating in his or her own defense. The defendant’s mental abilities are often in dispute at trial.

For example, the attorney for a Flint woman charged with arson in connection with a 2016 apartment fire says the woman has an IQ of 45 and is considered “extremely deficient” mentally. The woman has undergone a psychiatric evaluation, which the judge overseeing the case reviewed at a March 15 hearing, Mlive reports.

Mich. Legislature sends criminal justice reform bills to Gov.

A series of “milestone” criminal law bills have passed the Michigan legislature, potentially signaling a significant shift in the way the state treats minor offenders.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the package of 20 bills would make several changes to the criminal justice system in Michigan. Many of the bills focus on parole and probation.

Michigan politician blames OWI arrest on 'damn chicken nuggets'

As controversial as drinking and driving is, sometimes there are news stories about OWI that are amusing -- at least, to those of us not facing the charges.

WXIN-TV is reporting that a Michigan county commissioner was arrested back in December on suspicion of drinking and driving. According to the report, Montcalm County Commissioner Jeremy Miller blamed a craving for “those damn chicken nuggets” for his actions that night.

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