Category Archives: Corrections

MCO files collective action suit over portal to portal time

BY DAVID NICHOLAS
Yesterday, the Michigan Corrections Organization formally filed suit in U.S. District Court recoup what it said are wages owed for uncompensated portal to portal time.
Mel Grieshaber, spokesperson for the MCO, said compensation was paid three years ago.
The term refers to travel time, special instructions, or other duties from when an officer clocks in until he or she begins a work assignment
The suit is a collective action rather than class action because, under federal law, union-represented members must opt-in for legal representation. 
Grieshaber said at the time of yesterday’s filing, the union had received almost 2,300 consent forms, representing approximately one third of its 7,000 members. 
In addition, approximately one thousand retirees impacted by the change have been offered the chance to submit consent forms.
According to Grieshaber, members can submit the opt-in forms during a two-week window beyond the filing date.
Russ Marlin of the Michigan Department of Corrections said the state’s policy is to not comment on pending or current legal proceedings.
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MCO set to file class action over portal to portal time

BY DAVID NICHOLAS
The Michigan Corrections Organization is hoping to file a class action lawsuit today to recoup what it said are wages owed for uncompensated portal to portal time. 
The term refers to travel time, special instructions, or other duties from when an officer clocks in until he or she begins a work assignment.
Mel Grieshaber, spokesperson for the MCO, said compensation was paid for so-called portal to portal time until three years ago.
The union contacted its 7,000 current members and approximately 1,000 retirees impacted by the change. 
Federal law requires union-represented workers to opt-in for legal representation by signing a consent form. The MCO has been gathering those responses since early last week. As of mid afternoon yesterday, over 2,500 had been received. 
According to Grieshaber, members can submit the opt-in forms during a two-week window beyond the filing date. 
Russ Marlin of the Michigan Department of Corrections said the state’s policy is to not comment on pending or current legal proceedings.
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MCO prepares to file lawsuit

BY DAVID NICHOLAS
The Michigan Corrections Organization is preparing to file a class action lawsuit to recoup what it said are wages owed for portal to portal time.
The term refers to either travel time, special instructions, or picking up equipment from when an officer clocks in until he/she reaches an assignment.
Mel Griesaber, spokesperson for the MCO, said compensation was paid for these requirements up until three years ago.
Lawyers advising the union said the compensation could be substantial.
“I’m told that, by the lawyers, that you can go back two and in some cases three years but there is a statute of limitations on this and it’s either two years or three years and if we are successful, that could be a couple of million dollars in the aggregate for the 7,000 correctional officers around the state.”
Griesaber said that federal law requires union-represented workers to opt-in for legal representation by signing a consent form.
Notices went out earlier this week, and Griesaber said the filing could be as early as today or early next week, pending the number of opt-in forms collected by the MCO.
Russ Marlin of the Michigan Department of Corrections said the state’s policy is to not comment on pending or current legal proceedings.
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ACLU sues Isabella County jail for sex discrimination

BY JESI MUNGUIA
The Isabella County Correctional Facility is the target of a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. 
Charges include cruel and unusual punishment, the ACLU suit said the jail is violating prisoner rights by not allowing them out of their cell to exercise. 
The Isabella county sheriff has responded by saying, “we’re in a bind, the jail is old,” noting too that the facility is landlocked with no room to expand. 
Also in the suit are charges of sex discrimination citing female inmates not being able to serve in a trustee positions, jobs done within the jail to shorten the inmate’s sentence. 
Sheriff Leo Mioduszewki of Isabella county said they’re not trying to personally discriminate against women…
“Anywhere from 85 to 90 percent of our inmates are male population we have very few females. Because we house both males and females they have to be separated there can be no contact it has to be sight and sound barrier there. So unfortunately because we have so few females there’s no way we can have females be trustees without coming into contact with a male inmate. We’re once again in a bind based on the configuration of our jail.”
Sheriff Mioduszewki said many modern jails are able to have separate areas where there can be male and female trustees.  
He adds that officials are “doing their best to comply” with the charges.
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Identity Theft Assistance Center warns of the importance of fighting identity theft

BY CONSUELO MCABOY
As technology continues to evolve, we feel the pressure of having to keep up  by buying the next iPhone or purchasing a tablet computer. 
But the Identity Theft Assistance Center warns that those devices could lead to identity theft.
October marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month. 
That’s why the Identity Theft Assistance Center wants to remind people how identity theft happens and how to take measures to avoid it. 
Anne Wallace is the President of the center. 
“What the thieves have learned is that we all store lots of information on our mobile phones and we don’t always have a password protecting our mobile phones or our ipads or notebook computers. They also know that consumers go on to these sites whether it’s facebook or myspace and post lots of information. Sometimes they’re not careful about the kind of information that they post and the information, gives the cyber criminals the opportunity to take advantage of us.”
Wallace said it all comes down to password strength.
She said to ensure safety, we should create complex and long passwords, use a password that reminds you of an event, avoid entering your password on a public computer, and never use the same password for each site. 
Copyright 2012, MPRN
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Juvenile lifer ruling requires authorities to track down victims

BY RICK PLUTA
A state House panel opened hearings Tuesday on what Michigan must do to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. It struck down mandatory-life-without-parole sentences for juvenile felons.
There are 366 people serving life without parole sentences in Michigan prisons for crimes they committed as juveniles. Dawn Van Hoek of the State Appellate Defenders Office said maybe a third of the juvenile lifers have a strong case to make for some kind of leniency. 
“The juvenile was a getaway driver and was less culpable, came from horrible circumstances. It’s not going to be everybody, obviously. There are some really, really bad cases.”    
“I want to know when my nightmare can end? When can I get some kind of… judicial closure.” 
Jody Robinson’s brother was murdered 22 years ago. One of the convicted killers was a 16-year-old at the time of the crime. Robinson said now her family will have to return to court, and maybe attend parole hearings.
Copyright 2012, MPRN
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House could vote on no-fault changes this week

By Laura Weber

A proposal to drastically alter the state’s auto no-fault insurance law could come up for a vote as soon as this week in the state House. The House proposal includes a 50-thousand dollar appropriation that protects the measure from a voter-led ballot initiative to overturn the law via a referendum.

Democratic state Senator Bert Johnson said using referendum-proof language to shield controversial measures from being overturned by voters is a dangerous political game.

“We think that that limits voter protection as well. People should always be able to come and petition their government for what they believed the right thing is. And that’s the foundation of democracy in America, that’s what we’re built on.”

If the proposed changes to the no-fault insurance law are approved as currently written, it would be the fourth time this year the Republican-led Legislature passed referendum-proof bills that were not part of the state budget.

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Snyder ends lawmaker retirement benefits

By Mike Horace

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation ending lifetime health insurance benefits for a majority of Michigan lawmakers.

Members of the state senate, by and large, will get to keep their health benefits.

The legislation eliminates lifetime health benefits for any lawmaker that doesn’t have six years of service completed by January 1st, 2013.

In all, 97 of Michigan’s 148 lawmakers will lose their lifetime benefits.

State Representative Joel Johnson sponsored the legislation, and will lose his benefits as a result.

“It’s really important that we have folks run for office and serve in office who truly want to serve the people, not a situation to make themselves a better retirement program or anything like that.”

Lawmakers elected before 2007 will get to keep their benefits.

That includes 36 of Michigan’s 38 state senators, and another 15 state representatives.

List of lawmakers that keep their lifetime benefits

Name Party District
Rep.
Barb Byrum
D 67
Rep.
Bob Constan
D 16
Rep.
Chuck Moss
R 40
Rep.
Dave Agema
R 74
Rep.
Joan Bauer
D 68
Rep.
Jud Gilbert
R 81
Rep.
Ken Horn
R 94
Rep.
Mark Meadows
D 69
Rep.
Marty Knollenberg
R 41
Rep.
Paul Opsommer
R 93
Rep.
Richard Hammel
D 48
Rep.
Richard LeBlanc
D 18
Rep.
Shanelle Jackson
D 9
Rep.
Steven Lindberg
D 109
Rep.
Tim Melton
D 29
Sen.
Arlan Meekhof
R 30
Sen.
Bert Johnson
D 2
Sen.
Bruce Caswell
R 16
Sen.
Coleman Young II
D 1
Sen.
Darwin Booher
R 35
Sen.
Dave Hildenbrand
R 29
Sen.
David Robertson
R 26
Sen.
Geoff Hansen
R 34
Sen.
Glenn Anderson
D 6
Sen.
Gretchen Whitmer
D 23
Sen.
Hoon-Yung Hopgood
D 8
Sen.
Howard Walker
R 37
Sen.
Jack Brandenburg
R 11
Sen.
Jim Marleau
R 12
Sen.
Joe Hune
R 22
Sen.
John Gleason
D 27
Sen.
John Moolenaar
R 36
Sen.
John Pappageorge
R 13
Sen.
John Proos
R 21
Sen.
Judy Emmons
R 33
Sen.
Mark Jansen
R 28
Sen.
Mike Green
R 31
Sen.
Mike Kowall
R 15
Sen.
Mike Nofs
R 19
Sen.
Morris Hood III
D 3
Sen.
Phil Pavlov
R 25
Sen.
Randy Richardville
R 17
Sen.
Rebekah Warren
D 18
Sen.
Rick Jones
R 24
Sen.
Roger Kahn
R 32
Sen.
Steve Bieda
D 9
Sen.
Tom Casperson
R 38
Sen.
Tonya Schuitmaker
R 20
Sen.
Tory Rocca
R 10
Sen.
Tupac Hunter
D 5
Sen.
Virgil Smith
D 4

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Mixed Martial Arts Regulations Approved By Panel

By Chelsea Hagger

Michigan could soon require more protection for amateur mixed martial arts fighters. A bill that would add regulations to the fighting industry was approved by a state Senate committee Thursday.

The bill requires amateur mixed martial arts fight promoters to be licensed with the state. It also calls for promoters to ensure a medical professional is present at a fight and that fighters are in the same weight class.

Chris Jones works for Representative Dave Agema, who sponsored the proposal. Jones said the legislation will help protect the fighters.

“A lot of people out there who are holding these events without any protections for fighters. And the whole goal of a fighter getting into this sport is to become a pro.”

Fight promoters said they want their fighters to be protected.

 Copyright 2010, MPRN

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Traverse City Encouraging Schools To Revise Zero Tolerance Policy

By Amanda Harrison

A policy change in Traverse City public schools is inspiring discussion for change across the state.

The American Civil Liberties Union met with the Traverse City superintendent to encourage the school to revise its zero tolerance offenses.

Rodd Monts is the field director for ACLU. He said zero tolerance policy is a list of offenses that require notification of a school resource officer or law enforcement.

“On that list was the offense of petty theft of five dollars or more, which seemed troubling to us.”

Monts said his organization is working to keep kids out of the judicial system by encouraging schools to reevaluate their zero tolerance policies.

He said the group will visit cities on the southeast side of the state, focusing on cities that house ACLU branch offices. He said he hopes other schools will follow Traverse City’s change in policy.

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