Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
April 7 - 13, 2008
Volume 6 Issue 15

In the Capitol

Committee meetings of interest for the week of 4/14
4/15 House Appropriations: Corrections
Agenda: FY 2008-09 Budget Presentation from Department of Corrections; Public Testimony

4/16 House Judiciary
Agenda: SB 0435 Reorganize eighty-seventh judicial district into 3 separate districts; HB 5213 Provide for record expungement for certain offenders; HB 5984 Expand requirement to report child abuse or neglect to include certain employees of organizations that receive federal funding.
Positions on HB 5213:
SBM Position: Support
Criminal Law Section: Support
Criminal Jurisprudence & Practice Committee: Active Support
Justice Initiatives Committee: Support
Prisons & Corrections Section: Support in Principle

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 4/8 – 4/10
Of General Interest
HB 5966 Retirement; state employees; covered position; expand to include bureau of juvenile justice employees.

In the Hall of Justice
Administrative Orders
Administrative Order 2008-1 - File No. 2006-25
Pilot Project No. 1 - 17th Judicial Circuit Court (Expedited Process in the Resolution of the Low Conflict Docket of the Family Division)
On order of the Court, the 17th Judicial Circuit Court is authorized to implement a domestic relations pilot project. The pilot project will study the effectiveness of the use of pleadings that contain nonadversarial language, and the requirement that parents submit parenting time plans to encourage settlements and reduce postjudgment litigation.  The pilot project shall begin April 1, 2008, or as soon thereafter as is possible, and shall remain in effect until July 30, 2009, or until further order of this Court.
Issued: April 8, 2008
Effective: April 8, 2008

Proposed Amendments
2007-30 - Proposed Amendment of Rules 2.107 and 2.117 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments would allow a court to enter an order authorizing electronic service of notices and documents unless the party or attorney files written notice with the court that he or she for good cause elects not to receive service electronically. Good cause is defined to include the fact that a party or attorney does not have ready access to a facsimile machine or e-mail communication. Electronic service would include service by facsimile or e-mail. 
Issued: April 8, 2008
Comment period expired: August 1, 2008
Public hearing: To be scheduled

Other Actions
2008-01 - Appointment to the Michigan Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review
On order of the Court, pursuant to MCR 8.108(G)(2)(a), Judge Michael Talbot is appointed Chairperson of the Michigan Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review for the remainder of a term commencing April 1, 2008, and ending March 31, 2010.
Issued: April 8, 2008

At The Bar
Judicial Vacancy -- 10th Circuit Court
Hon. Lynda L. Heathscott is vacating her seat on the 10th Circuit Court. State Bar members interested in applying for the judgeship should submit an application by May 7, 2008.
View Information

Judicial Vacancy -- 68th District Court
Hon. Ramona M. Roberts is vacating her seat on the 68th Circuit Court. State Bar members interested in applying for the judgeship should submit an application by May 7, 2008.
View Information

Paralegal TasteFest and Day of Education Set for May 1-2

FOCUS: The Board of Commissioners met on Friday, April 11, 2008 at which time the State Bar of Michigan adopted the following public policy positions. All positions were adopted by a unanimous vote except when indicated.

2002-37 - Proposed New Rules 2E.001 et seq. of the Michigan Court Rules (Electronic Filing)
In May 2003, this Court adopted an order authorizing several efiling pilot projects in trial courts, and instructed that an e-filing subcommittee be formed within the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The subcommittee drafted rules, which were then adopted by the TAG. This proposal is drafted substantially as adopted by the TAG.
SBM Position: Support the six principles recommended by the Civil Procedure and Courts Committee.

2006-10 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.603 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposal would require that only negotiable instruments be filed with the clerk for cancellation when applying for a default judgment.
SBM Position: Oppose

2006-32 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.504 of the Michigan Court Rules  
This proposed amendment would allow a court, on motion of any party or sua sponte, to enter a default or dismiss a party’s action or claim for failure to comply with the rules or a court order. The current rule allows such actions by the court only if the plaintiff makes such a motion. The proposed amendment would also allow the court to dismiss on its own initiative an action in which the plaintiff, on the law and the facts presented, is not entitled to relief, and would make the rule applicable to claims and hearings in addition to actions. The rule currently allows only the defendant to make such a motion.
SBM Position: Oppose the proposal as drafted.  Support the amendments recommended by the Civil Procedure and Courts Committee and the Committee on Justice Initiatives.

2007-38 - Proposed Amendment of Rule 6.201 of the Michigan Court Rules  
The proposed amendment of MCR 6.201(B)(1) would eliminate the requirement that the prosecuting attorney provide the defendant with any exculpatory information or evidence known to the prosecuting attorney only upon request. This proposal also clarifies that the prosecuting attorney is required to provide such information or evidence regardless of whether it is requested by the defendant. The Court would appreciate specific comments on whether a court rule requiring the prosecuting attorney to provide the defendant with exculpatory information or evidence is necessary, in light of the prosecuting attorney’s constitutional obligation to do so under Brady v Maryland, 373 US 83 (1963), and, if so, whether the proposed amendment of MCR 6.201(B)(1) is consistent with the requirements of Brady.
SBM Position: Support

HB 5089 (Condino) Criminal procedure; DNA; deadline for filing petition for DNA testing in felony conviction cases; extend, and revise certain procedures for obtaining test of DNA evidence. Amends sec. 16, ch. X of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 770.16).
SBM Position: Support

HB 5260 (Constan) Criminal procedure; search and seizure; warrants authorizing electronic interception or recording of communications; revise certain procedures for. Amends 1966 PA 189 (MCL 780.651 - 780.659) by adding sec. 2b.
SBM Position: Oppose

HB 5534 (Tobocman) Criminal procedure; verdicts; recording of order setting aside forged deed following criminal conviction; provide for. Amends secs. 248 & 249 of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.248 & 750.249).
SBM Position: Support.  Support amendment recommended by the Committee on Justice Initiatives.

HB 5568 (Schuitmaker) Criminal procedure; sentencing; certain records necessary to obtain identification documents; assist convicted persons in obtaining. Amends sec. 14, ch. XI of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 771.14).
SBM Position: Support.

HB 5598 (Sak) Family law; marriage and divorce; placement of pets by court in an annulment, divorce, or separate maintenance action; provide for. Amends 1846 RS 84 (MCL 552.1 - 552.45) by adding sec. 22a.
SBM Position: Oppose. Authorize the Animal Law Section to advocate its position.

HJR OO (Agema) Criminal procedure; bail; individual charged with a felony who has entered or remained in United States illegally; prohibit granting bail. Amends sec. 15, art. I of the state constitution.
SBM Position: Oppose. This position was adopted by a roll call vote.

SB 0989 (Kuipers) Courts; juries; submission of written questions to witnesses by jurors; allow. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101 - 600.9947) by adding sec. 2170.
SBM Position: Oppose
SB 0990 (Sanborn) Courts; juries; jury summons; require to clearly explain conditions for exemption from jury service. Amends sec. 1332 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.1332).
SBM Position: Oppose
SB 0991 (Cropsey) Courts; juries; various requirements regarding jurors; implement. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101 - 600.9947) by adding sec. 1350a.
SBM Position: Oppose     
SB 0992 (Kahn) Courts; juries; exemption from jury service for individuals who have served within the preceding 24 months; provide for. Amends sec. 1307a of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.1307a).
M Position: Oppose
SB 0995 (George) Courts; juries; peremptory challenges when selecting jurors; eliminate. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101 - 600.9947) by adding sec. 1350b & repeals secs. 12 & 13, ch. VIII & sec. 17, ch. XIV of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 768.12 et seq.).
SBM Position: Oppose                       
SB 0996 (George) Civil procedure; costs and fees; separate filing fee for each defendant named in a lawsuit; require. Amends secs. 2529 & 8371 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.2529 & 600.8371.
SBM Position: Oppose

SB 1001 (Richardville) Civil procedure; civil actions; sanctions for advocating a frivolous claim or defense in a civil action; allow court to impose sanctions in addition to costs and attorney fees. Amends sec. 2591 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.2591).
SB 1002 (Richardville) Civil procedure; costs and fees; attorney fees; require losing party to pay winning party's fees in a civil lawsuit. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101 - 600.9947) by adding sec. 2443.
SBM Position: Oppose

FOCUS: The Representative Assembly met on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at which time the State Bar of Michigan adopted the following public policy positions:

Issue: Consideration of Michigan Policy on Dues Waiver for Members Serving in the Military
SBM Position: Support

Issue: Consideration of ABA Model Court Rule on Provision on Legal Services Following Determination of Major Disaster
SBM Position: Support

Issue: Consideration of MCR 8.115 Use of Cell Phones by Lawyers in Courthouses
SBM Position: Support

Issue: Consideration of Unauthorized Practice of Law Educational Activities Resolution
SBM Position: Support

Questions on any State Bar position may be directed to Elizabeth Lyon at

State News

Bulging Prisons Drain Michigan's Budget
(Detroit News, 4/14/08)

Drug Courts Get $1 Million Grant
(The Battle Greek Enquirer, 4/7/08)


Links of Interest
Public Policy Resource Center | Michigan Supreme Court | Michigan Legislature | MCL Search Engines