Category Archives: Courts

“A little bit of freedom” is result of training program which pairs inmates and leader dogs for the blind

DSC_8275 (1)Service dogs for the blind are being trained by prison inmates at a growing number of prisons state and nationwide.

And some of the professionals who work with the program say prison inmates are the best trainers around.

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Bay City follows anti-discrimination ordinance trend

LGBT_flag_02An anti-discrimination ordinance passed unanimously this week in Bay City, and looks similar to ordinances that are popping up in cities and counties across the state.

Some worry these ordinances will affect business. Others say they are essential for inclusive communities.

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Dow Dupont merger makes pursuing lawsuits more difficult

DowBy 2017 Dow Chemical and Dupont USA are expected to merge, becoming the largest chemical company in the United States.

However, it may take nearly 100 years before lawsuits brought against Dupont are resolved.

Late last year, Dupont USA was found liable in the first of 35-hundred cases brought against the company for causing cancer in individuals who drank water contaminated with one of their chemicals.
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National Wildlife Federation files intent to sue

mackinac-03On Monday the National Wildlife Federation filed an intent to sue the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which oversees pipeline safety.

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Dalton Charged With Murder in Kalamazoo

gavelAccused Kalamazoo shooter Jason Dalton was formally charged today (Mon.) with murder, assault with intent to commit murder, and weapons charges. That’s in connection with a weekend shooting spree that left six people dead and two critically injured.

Jason Dalton was quiet throughout the hearing carried out via video camera from the jail where’s being held without bail In fact, one of his few statements was that he’d prefer to not say anything. He faces 16 charges – including six counts of murder. Prosecutors said in court that Dalton acknowledged being the shooter after he was read his rights.

But Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas (MA’-chus) says a motive remains a mystery.

“We’re really not that much closer to why this occurred then we were 10 minutes after he was arrested.”

Federal authorities say a cache of weapons was taken from Dalton’s home following the shootings.

Dalton’s next court date is March 3rd. He’s been assigned a public defender.

Accused Kalamazoo killer arraigned in district court

6th Circuit Court of AppealsThe man accused of killing six people and seriously wounding two others in a mass shooting in Kalamazoo on Saturday has been arraigned in district court. Jason Brian Dalton is charged with six counts of murder. He also faces assault and felony weapons charges. Dalton, who appeared through a video feed, sat silently during the proceedings with a blank expression. Michigan State Police Detective [First Lieutenant] Chuck Christensen says Dalton has been cooperative but “stoic” when questioned by police.

In a probable cause hearing today, officials said Dalton has admitted to “taking lives.” Dalton is alleged to have driven around Kalamazoo County Saturday night, shooting people at random in three locations. His next court appearance is set for March 3.

Democrats renew calls for legislative hearings on Flint water crisis

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Democrats in the state Legislature say lawmakers should get an opportunity to question people under oath about the Flint water crisis.

They’ve introduced a resolution that would give a state Senate panel subpoena power to investigate the situation. They say lawmakers have a duty to exercise their oversight powers to hold public officials accountable.


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Juvenile lifers reflect on what Supreme Court decision means for their future

DSC_0284With its ruling the Supreme court has determined that minors given life sentences before 2012 can now seek a review of their cases and make a bid for early release.

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Case dropped against man charged under controversial state crime lab THC policy

Max Lorincz and his wife Erica Chittenden. Photo by Rick Pluta

Max Lorincz and his wife Erica Chittenden. Photo by Rick Pluta

A judge has dismissed the case against a man who was charged under the State Police crime lab’s controversial THC policy.

The policy makes it harder for lab technicians to report that samples containing THC come from marijuana plants – and aren’t made artificially in a lab. Possession of synthetic THC carries tougher penalties than possession of plant-based marijuana products. Continue reading

Bangor Township joins Bay City in restricting panhandling

Michigan’s 85 year old blanket ban on panhandling, was overturned in 2013.panhaldning

Solicitation is protected under the first amendment, but cities are allowed to restrict it. That’s exactly what some Michigan communities are doing. Continue reading

Old-order Amish communities consider change

IMG_7402Residents and representatives in the Clare Gladwin county are trying to find the right balance between religious freedom and personal safety after a series of Amish buggy collisions culminated in a death this past December.

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Scientists blast State Police crime lab THC policy as man fights to get son back

Max Lorincz and his wife Erica Chittenden outside their home in Spring Lake in Ottawa County. The couple has been fighting to be reunited with their son Dante since Max was charged with possessing synthetic THC – a charge some forensic scientists say is absurd. Photo by Rick Pluta

Max Lorincz and his wife Erica Chittenden outside their home in Spring Lake in Ottawa County. The couple has been fighting to be reunited with their son Dante since Max was charged with possessing synthetic THC – a charge some forensic scientists say is absurd. Photo by Rick Pluta

Maxwell Lorincz lives in Spring Lake near Lake Michigan with his wife and their six-year-old son. At least, they did live with their son, until a year and a half ago.

They lost custody of him after Lorincz was charged with a felony for possessing synthetic THC. He’s a card-carrying medical marijuana patient. But that hasn’t helped in his fight to get his son back.

So for now, the family gets unsupervised visits for a few hours every week. Continue reading