SBM NewsLinks is a free daily e-mail newsletter containing the top law-related news stories of the day. Headlines of local and national stories provide links to the full articles. [subscribe online]

SBM NewsLinks

MICHIGAN LEGAL NEWS
 
Instead of arrest, man who left hateful graffiti in Royal Oak to get mental care

Detroit Free Press - September 20, 2017
The swastikas and words "white power" painted on garages in suburban Detroit last weekend have been traced to a man who lives nearby with his parents, police said. But he won't be arrested. Instead: "This individual has serious mental-health issues and we're using this investigation to make sure he gets that help," Royal Oak Chief of Police Corrigan O'Donohue said.

 
Michigan dairy farmer pleads guilty to hiring undocumented immigrants

MLive.com - September 20, 2017
A man who emigrated from Ireland, settled in Michigan's Thumb, and started two dairy farms has pleaded guilty to federal charges of hiring undocumented immigrants. Denis Burke on Tuesday, Sept. 19, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris in the federal courthouse in downtown Bay City. He pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly harboring illegal aliens for private gain and/or commercial advantage. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount that was illicitly gained.

 
Flint water crisis prosecutors will go inside Gov. Snyder's cabinet first

MLive - September 20, 2017
Prosecutors are about to turn up the heat on the Flint water crisis defendant closest to Gov. Rick Snyder as they attempt to prove one of the most serious crimes that have been alleged to date. The preliminary exam for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon is set to begin Thursday, Sept. 21, before Genesee District Judge David Goggins, making it the first criminal water crisis case to advance that that far.

 
After 9 years of wrongful imprisonment, Sanford sues Detroit

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
Davontae Sanford is suing the city of Detroit, as well as former Detroit Police Commander James Tolbert and Sgt. Mike Russell, for wrongful imprisonment. Sanford spent nearly nine years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. At age 14, he was picked up by Detroit police in 2007 after four people were gunned down in a home in his neighborhood. Police interrogated him off and on for 2 days without a parent or attorneys present.

 
Risk analysis for Enbridge’s aging Line 5 to begin soon

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
Monday's meeting of the Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board was filled with worry about the condition of Line 5, the two 64-year-old Enbridge pipelines carrying oil and liquid natural gas under the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge recently revealed there are areas of the pipeline where the protective coating has worn off. At first, the company said the areas were "Band-Aid" sized. But then, the story changed.

 
Detroit City Council passes affordable housing ordinance to fight gentrification

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
Developers of residential housing who receive public subsidies for their projects in Detroit will have to make 20% of new units affordable, under a proposed ordinance unanimously passed by the Detroit City Council today. Several members of the city council said the ordinance will help slow gentrification in the city. Councilwoman Mary Sheffield said the measure includes waivers for projects that wouldn’t be financially viable if they're forced to follow the 20% mandate.

 
Much progress reducing tax foreclosures in Detroit, Wayne County

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
In 2015, the city of Detroit foreclosed on 6,400 owner-occupied homes. This year, that number was down to 786 -- an 88% reduction. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says a new law that knocked down the 18% interest rate for back tax payment plans to 6% helped, as did a media blitz by Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree and scores of groups and volunteers who got the word out.

 
Unlimited political donations pass another hurdle

Detroit News - September 20, 2017
The Legislature gave final approval Tuesday to a plan that would allow political candidates to raise unlimited amounts of money through super political action committees. The two-bill package passed the House in a 62-45 vote, with Democrats and some Republicans opposing the legislation. The Senate later gave it a final perfunctory approval, so it heads to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for consideration.

 
Michigan OKs $12 minimum wage proposal aimed at 2018 ballot

Detroit Free Press - September 20, 2017
Organizers of a petition drive to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2022 got the green light from the state Board of Canvassers Tuesday and will begin to collect signatures for the November 2018 ballot. The group – One Fair Wage of Michigan – is proposing gradually increasing the minimum wage to $12 by 2022, and for workers who receive tips, the minimum wage would get to $12 per hour by 2024.

 
2018 races getting crowded for attorney general, secretary of state

Detroit Free Press - September 20, 2017
Statewide races for attorney general and secretary of state are getting more crowded this week with the entry of two new candidates. State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, confirmed the rumors Tuesday when she filed paperwork to run for attorney general. Certified public accountant Mary Treder Lang, a Republican activist from Grosse Pointe, announced she’s joining the crowded field for secretary of state.

 
Feds: Fake hospice laundered cash in FCA-UAW scandal

Detroit News - September 20, 2017
Federal prosecutors have seized $292,000 from a fake hospice that funneled cash to Monica Morgan-Holiefield, a central figure of the Fiat Chrysler-UAW corruption scandal, court records allege. A federal court filing Tuesday seeking forfeiture of the money deepens a $4.5 million scandal involving two pillars of the auto industry and illustrates how federal agents are following money raided from a training fund for blue-collar workers.

 
Wage, leave-time petition drives moving ahead

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
Voters might have the chance to decide a pair of workers’ rights questions next year. A petition campaign to require businesses to offer employees paid sick and family leave has launched its signature-gathering drive. On the same day, a state elections board approved the form of a campaign to increase the state minimum wage to $12 an hour, which plans to start gathering names next month.

 
The University of Michigan gets another $50 million from Stephen Ross

MLive - September 20, 2017
The University of Michigan's biggest donor, billionaire real estate mogul Stephen M. Ross, has made another hefty donation to his alma mater, pushing it over its $1 billion campaign goal for student support. UM announced Wednesday, Sept. 20, that Ross has made a $50 million donation, bringing his lifetime giving total to $378 million.

 
Judge denies new trial for member of Detroit's Highwaymen Motorcycle Club

Detroit Free Press - September 20, 2017
A federal judge has rejected claims by an imprisoned member of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club which could have undermined a racketeering case that sent more than 30 members of Detroit's home-grown motorcycle gang to prison. Highwayman Gary (Junior) Ball, Jr. uncovered records that showed the lead defendant in the case — former Highwaymen vice president Aref (Steve) Nagi — had previously served as a police informant.

 
KKK, black men on leashes among images in shocking ArtPrize entry

MLive - September 20, 2017
African-Americans wearing leashes, collars and being "walked" like dogs are a few of the scenes depicted in Monroe "Akibang" O'Bryant's photo series entry to ArtPrize this year. A woman passing the striking photos displayed in DeVos Place Convention Center paused to take a closer look. Her expression quickly turned from curiosity to disgust and she walked away swiftly, obviously troubled by the racial themes in the work.

 
Fugitive Chicago police sergeant arrested in Detroit after 15 years

Detroit Free Press - September 20, 2017
A former Chicago police sergeant wanted on federal drug and conspiracy charges was arrested in Detroit after nearly 15 years on the run, the FBI announced Tuesday. Eddie Hicks was apprehended in Detroit on Tuesday morning and appeared in U.S. District Court, where he was ordered held until he can be brought to Chicago to face charges filed against him.

 
Duggan: Lower car insurance rates ‘civil rights’ issue

Detroit News - September 20, 2017
Democratic Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard huddled Tuesday in the Michigan Capitol as they negotiated final details of a pending proposal to cut statewide auto insurance costs. The plan, months in the making, could be introduced as soon as next week. “We had a very productive meeting,” Leonard, R-DeWitt, said after emerging from his office with Duggan and House Insurance Committee Chair Lana Theis, R-Brighton.

 
“Citizens United” bills: From Senate to governor’s desk in less than a week

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
Republicans in Lansing worked at a breakneck speed Tuesday to pass legislation that would allow politicians in Michigan to solicit campaign contributions on behalf of political action committees. The bills had their first House committee hearing Tuesday morning and were headed to the governor’s desk by the end of the day. They’d passed in the Senate late last week.

 
State finds more faults with Flint water system as it pushes for GLWA

MLive - September 20, 2017
State regulators found far more faults in the city's water system this year, as they pushed to keep Flint's water treatment plant mothballed, than they did just four years ago, according to records obtained by MLive-The Flint Journal through the Freedom of Information Act. A 2013 water plant sanitary survey completed by the state Department of Environmental Quality found just one deficiency in the city water system -- related to the availability of emergency electrical power for the treatment plant -- even though the facility had not been in full-time operation in decades.

 
Explosion destroys Detroit motorcycle club

Detroit News - September 20, 2017
A few picnic tables and outdoor chairs are all that remain of the Street Royalty Motor Cycle Club on Detroit’s west side. A natural gas explosion and fire late Tuesday night is believed to have destroyed the club at Dexter and Webb. Investigators are expected to arrive on scene Wednesday morning to determine the cause. According to a post on the club’s Facebook page, no one was injured.

 
 
NATIONAL LEGAL NEWS
 
Latest GOP Effort To Replace Obamacare Could End Health Care For Millions

National Public Radio - September 20, 2017
It wasn't that long ago that the effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act died once and for all in the Senate. Or so many thought. But like the killer robot in The Terminator or the undead fighters in Game of Thrones, the repeal effort has risen once again from the ashes in the form of a bill known as Graham-Cassidy. The bill, introduced Sept. 13 by Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., with little hope of going anywhere, has gained steam in its short life and now looks like it may actually come to a vote in the Senate in the coming days.

 
Powerful Quake Devastates Central Mexico, Leaving More Than 200 Dead

National Public Radio - September 20, 2017
The head of Mexico's civil defense agency has lowered the number of people confirmed dead in Tuesday's earthquake. Luis Felipe Puente now says 217 people were killed. Earlier he said the death toll was 248. He gave no explanation for the revised number.

 
Under latest health-care bill, red states would benefit disproportionately

Washington Post - September 20, 2017
The latest Republican proposal for curtailing the Affordable Care Act was assembled with such haste that it may get a vote before a full cost estimate is finished. But it is not a new idea. At its core, the bill introduced by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) would implement a decades-old conservative concept, capping the amount that taxpayers spend on Medicaid and giving states full control over the program.

 
Fed Poised to Set Portfolio Reduction Plan in Motion

Wall Street Journal - September 20, 2017
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday likely will announce the beginning of a yearslong program to shrink its bond portfolio and could offer clues about the prospects for another rate increase this year. Officials will release a statement and their updated quarterly economic projections at 2 p.m. EDT, after the conclusion of their two-day policy meeting. Chairwoman Janet Yellen holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Here’s what to watch.

 
The garage science behind the stun gun that changed policing

Reuters - September 20, 2017
When Rick Smith launched his supercharged stun gun in 1999, his startup had produced two failed products, several years of losses and a load of debt. He had thrown everything into a weapon he believed police would buy. His challenge was two-fold. He needed something strong enough to stop suspects in their tracks and the science to convince police it wouldn’t kill.

 
Equifax Confirms Another 'Security Incident'

National Public Radio - September 20, 2017
After the revelation that a cybersecurity breach at the international credit reporting agency Equifax exposed personal information of 143 million people, the company has confirmed an additional security incident. It says the two are unrelated. Equifax is already struggling to regain public trust after it waited at least a month to disclose to consumers that the cyberattack potentially impacted their personal information, such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some cases, driver's license numbers and credit card information.

 
With Combative Style and Epithets, Trump Takes America First to the U.N.

New York Times - September 20, 2017
President Trump brought the same confrontational style of leadership he has used at home to the world’s most prominent stage on Tuesday as he vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the United States and denounced the nuclear agreement with Iran as “an embarrassment” that he may abandon. In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Trump framed the conflicts as a test of the international system.

 
New health-care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

Washington Post - September 20, 2017
Senate Republicans and the White House pressed ahead Tuesday with their suddenly resurgent effort to undo former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law, even as their attempt was dealt a setback when a bipartisan group of governors and several influential interest groups came out against the proposal. Powerful health-care groups continued to rail against the bill, including AARP and the American Hospital Association, both of which urged a no vote.

 
Latest Push for a Health-Law Repeal Picks Up Speed in the Senate

Wall Street Journal - September 20, 2017
A last-chance push by Republicans to scrap the Affordable Care Act gained momentum but still faced formidable odds Tuesday, with some key Republican senators wavering in their support days before a possible vote. The latest drive to repeal most of the ACA has the backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who said Tuesday that Republicans “are in the process of discussing” whether to hold a vote on the legislation.

 
Exclusive: From Russia with fuel - North Korean ships may be undermining sanctions

Reuters - September 20, 2017
At least eight North Korean ships that left Russia with a cargo of fuel this year headed for their homeland despite declaring other destinations, a ploy that U.S. officials say is often used to undermine sanctions. Reuters has no evidence of wrongdoing by the vessels, whose movements were recorded in Reuters ship-tracking data. Changing a ship’s destination once underway is not forbidden and it is unclear whether any of the ships unloaded fuel in North Korea.

 
Maria Slams Ashore in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 Hurricane

Bloomberg - September 20, 2017
Hurricane Maria slammed into southeastern Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm with the potential to inflict $30 billion in damages just two weeks after Irma ravaged the cash-strapped island. Top winds reached 155 miles (249 kilometers) per hour as Maria made landfall near Yabucoa at around 6:15 a.m. New York time, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

 
Senate Republicans Embrace Plan for $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut

New York Times - September 20, 2017
Senate Republicans, abandoning a key fiscal doctrine, agreed on Tuesday to move forward on a budget that would add to the federal deficit in order to pave the way for a $1.5 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years. The Republican lawmakers, under mounting pressure to score a legislative win on taxes, say a tax cut of this magnitude will stimulate economic growth enough to offset any deficit impact.

 
 
OPINIONS
 
Undercover With the Alt-Right

New York Times - September 20, 2017
Last September, Patrik Hermansson, a 25-year-old graduate student from Sweden, went undercover in the world of the extreme right. Posing as a student writing a thesis about the suppression of right-wing speech, he traveled from London to New York to Charlottesville, Va. — and into the heart of a dangerous movement that is experiencing a profound rejuvenation.

 
Who pays for the White House to lawyer up?

Washington Post - September 20, 2017
President Trump has hired a cadre of lawyers to grapple with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian election interference. Now, White House staffers are beginning to do the same. But who will pay the legal bills of those without the president’s deep pockets? As the investigation apparently gathers steam, so does a debate over an Office of Government Ethics rule prohibiting anonymous donations to legal defense funds of government employees.

 
James Madison Weeps

Wall Street Journal - September 20, 2017
‘Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government,” wrote Ben Franklin. “When this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved.” Imagine what Franklin, James Madison and the other Founders would make of a new Brookings Institution survey showing that American college students have no clue what the First Amendment means.

 
Politicians just want to be elected

Michigan Radio - September 20, 2017
Recently, I said in passing that I had never run for any office, and later I realized this was not strictly true. I have twice been elected to the board of the prestigious Historical Society of Michigan, and am now its president. However, I don’t get any salary, have no real power, and my stunning electoral triumph was due to the fact that I ran unopposed.

 
Our Editorial: Intolerance on display at MSU

Detroit News - September 20, 2017
The bad behavior that’s become common on campuses isn’t just the fault of students. All too often members of the faculty are behind the intolerance, instigating movements to block speakers and events that counter their (usually liberal) point of view. Michigan’s public universities are no different. Case in point: A faculty member at Michigan State University tried to prevent Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from speaking briefly at the grand opening today of the university’s Grand Rapids Research Center.

 
Here's what's wrong with Bill Schuette's ode to 5-Hour Energy

Detroit Free Press - September 20, 2017
Are you a big-money donor with a consumer product? Spokescandidate Bill Schuette would love to tell the world about it. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who — did you hear? — is running for governor, recently launched a series of Facebook videos in which he engages in wholesome, cutesy acts, like noshing on a hot dog at Comerica Park, talking up the windmill cookies in Holland or shopping for bullets at a Macomb County ammo store. You know, normal candidate stuff.

 
 
STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN BLOG & OTHER NEWS
 
Join 1,000 legal colleagues already registered for #SBMNex

SBM Blog - September 20, 2017
What do you have to do at SBM NEXT Conference to be eligible to win a ton of prizes, including a flat screen TV sponsored by the Paul Goebel Group, a Visa gift card, State Bar of Michigan merchandise and more? Complete four easy steps: 1.Pick up a passport to prizes from the registration desk Thursday morning 2.Collect stamps from exhibitors at their booths throughout the day 3.Turn your completed passport in at the registration desk by 4:15 p.m. Thursday 4.Hang out, enjoy free food and drinks at the All Member Reception from 4-5 p.m. in the Exhibitor Hall to be present (and thus eligible to win) for the prize drawing

 
Need a better technology quotient? Boost yours at #SBMNext

SBM Blog - September 20, 2017
We know you're an Instagram whiz, but in order to compete successfully in the legal marketplace, you've got to figure out how to harness technology to make your work more efficient and effective. Lucky for you, we're offering a brand new technology educational track at SBM NEXT Conference that will help you improve your productivity by utilizing Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant; gain proficiency with PDFs; master Microsoft Word; and get a rapid-fire 60 tech tips in 60 minutes, as well as become effective at paperless trial preparation, prepare a trial presentation on your iPad, and make your case to the jury with legal technology.

 
Put your downtime to work in the new Learning Lounge @ #SBMNext

SBM Blog - September 20, 2017
If you want to pick up some new skills at SBM NEXT Conference without having to sit through a structured seminar, we're offering just want you want in our all-new Learning Lounge, where you can join in a hands-on learning lab experience with a skilled expert in an informal setting. The Learning Lounge, which will feature comfy couches and charging stations, will be in operation from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday in Room 250-A at Cobo Center.

 
SPECIAL ALERT: Dues Notice Will (Only) Be E-mailed This Year

SBM Blog - September 20, 2017
Starting this year, the State Bar of Michigan will e-mail dues notices containing a link to annual dues invoices and disclosure forms to members. Making this change is not only more efficient and convenient for members, but it also allows the State Bar to devote bar dues to valuable member programs and services rather than paper and postage. On September 20, members will receive an e-mail from the State Bar of Michigan inviting them to log into the member area and complete their annual disclosures online and pay their dues with a credit or debit card.