Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
June 1—7, 2009
Volume 7 Issue 23

FOCUS: Supreme Court Rules on Recusal
On June 8, the United States Supreme Court handed down an opinion in the Caperton Et al. v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., Inc., Et al. case 5-4, ordering that a West Virginia Supreme Court Justice be recused on due process grounds.
Read Opinion

UPDATE: Public Defense Congressional Hearing
Written testimony from last week's congressional hearing on public defense is now available online.
Additional Information
Written testimony from witnesses:
Robert M.A. Johnson, Co-Chair of National Right to Counsel Committee and District Attorney, Anoka County, MN
Alan Crotzer, Probation and Community Intervention Officer with Florida Department of Juvenile Justice; wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 130 years in prison, Tallahassee, FL
Erik Luna, Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, VA
Malcolm R. "Tye" Hunter, Former Executive Director of North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services, Durham, NC
John Wesley Hall, President of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Little Rock, AR
Rhoda Billings, Co-Chair of National Right to Counsel Committee, Former Justice and Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, Lewisville, NC

In the Capitol
Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 6/8
6/9 House Judiciary: Corrections Reform
Agenda: Presentation from Barb Levine on corrections reform and presentation by Tyrone Sanders on post-convictions bonds.

6/9 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: SB 473 Require use of 2-way interactive video technology for certain court proceedings whenever possible; SB 476 Require competitive bidding process for goods and services used by the department of corrections.
Criminal Law Section on SB 473: Oppose

6/9 Senate Appropriations: Judiciary & Corrections
Agenda: Michigan Department of Corrections; Goodwill Industries; UAW, Local 6000.

6/10 House Judiciary
Agenda: HB 4349 Require reporting discovery of a dead body; HB 4482 Provide mandatory minimum sentence penalties for crime of fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer; HB 4483 Amend to remove sentencing guidelines for crime of fleeing and eluding an officer; HB 4601 Allow fingerprinting of applicants or licensees in certain occupations for the purpose of receiving state and national criminal history record information; HB 4828 Prohibit and provide penalties sale of brass knuckles to minors; HB 4221 Revise to reflect renumbering to subsection reference to personal protection order section of the revised judicature act in the concealed weapons act; HB 4222 Allow victims of posting certain messages on the internet, furnishing obscene publications to minors, or criminal sexual conduct to petition for personal protection orders. And any other business properly before this committee.
Family Law Section position on HB 4222: Support and Amend

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 6/2—6/4
Of Interest to the Legal Community

HB 5033 Civil procedure; statute of limitations; technical amendments to section 5851 of the revised judicature act; enact. Amends secs. 5838a & 5851 of 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.5838a & 600.5851).

HB 5036 Civil procedure; civil actions; strategic lawsuits against public participation; limit. Amends 1961 PA 236 (MCL 600.101600.9947) by adding sec. 2977.

HB 5043 Health; occupations; license revocation or denial upon conviction of first, second, or third degree criminal sexual conduct; make permanent. Amends secs. 16245 & 16631 of 1978 PA 368 (MCL 333.16245 & 333.16631).

Of General Interest
HB 5045 Civil rights; equal protection; whistleblower protection for communications with elected officials regarding actions of state agencies; provide for. Creates new act.

In the Hall of Justice
Judge Michael R. Smolenski Mourned by Michigan Supreme Court, Court of Appeals; Remembered for Love of Law and of People

At the Bar
The State Bar's Public Policy, Image and Identity Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 9, 2009. The State Bar of Michigan's Board of Commissioners will meet on June 12, 2009. For more information, please contact

The June 2009 Insurance issue of the Michigan Bar Journal is now available online at

Member Advisory: Attempted Internet Scam Involving Michigan Trust Account

50-Year Golden Celebration

SBM Milestone to Highlight Case That Gave Rise to Asian American Civil Rights Movement

Sections and Committees
The Criminal Law Section submitted Public Policy reports on the following items:
Oppose: SB 0473 Courts; other; use of 2-way interactive video technology for certain court proceedings; require whenever possible. Amends sec. 37a, ch. VII of 1927 PA 175 (MCL 767.37a).

Oppose: SB 0474 Corrections; parole; mandatory conditions for individual to be released on parole; establish. Amends sec. 35 of 1953 PA 232 (MCL 791.235).

Federal News
Justices Tell Judges Not to Rule on Major Backers
(New York Times, 6/8/09)

Death Penalty Case Reveals Failings in Alabama's Courts
(New York Times, 6/8/09)

Nationwide, Public Defender Offices Are in Crisis
(Associated Press, 6/3/09)

State News
Michigan to Shutter 8 Prisons in Budget Cutbacks
(Detroit News, 6/6/09)

Macomb Officials Debate Creations of Public Defender's Office
(Detroit News 6/4/09)

Mich. House OKs Keeping Criminals Away From Prison
(, 6/2/09)

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