Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
August 9–15, 2010
Volume 8 Issue 33

In the Capitol
The Michigan House of Representatives will reconvene on August 18, at 1:30 p.m. instead of August 17 as previously announced.

Committee Meetings of Interest for the Week of 8/16
8/18 Senate Judiciary
Agenda: HB 5964 Create right of publicity; and any other business properly before this committee.
Arts, Communications, Entertainment, and Sports Section Position: Support HB 5964

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

Legislation Introduced 8/11
Of Interest to the Legal Community

SB 1452 Courts; judges; number of circuit judgeships in Van Buren county; reduce.

Of General Interest
HB 6367 Corrections; prisoners; prisoners subject to disciplinary time; revise eligibility for extensions of limits of confinement, and enhance certain treatment options for certain prisoners.

SB 1449 Corrections; prisoners; prisoners subject to disciplinary time; revise eligibility for extensions of limits of confinement, and enhance certain treatment options for certain prisoners.

At the Bar
Pro Bono Month Calls Attention to Unmet Civil Legal Needs of the Poor

Sections and Committees
The Appellate Practice Section submitted a Public Policy position on 2009-19 Proposed Amendments of Rules 6.425, 6.502, 7.204, and 7.205 of the Michigan Court Rules. The amendments proposed in this order would impose time limits for the filing of motions for relief from judgment in criminal cases and would shorten time limits for late appeals in both civil and criminal actions. In proposed amendments of MCR 7.204 and MCR 7.205, alternative provisions are offered, under which, upon a showing of excusable neglect, the Court of Appeals or a trial court may grant an extension of time for filing a late appeal.

In the Hall of Justice
Proposed Amendments
2010-18 Proposed Amendment of Rule 6.1 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct
Alternative A is the current version of MRPC 6.1 with the addition of proposed language that would clarify that lawyers would not be subject to disciplinary action or any other process to enforce their responsibility to provide pro bono services. Alternative B, modified slightly by the Court for publication, was submitted by the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly, and is based largely on the American Bar Association's Model Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1. The proposed amendments would clarify that each lawyer has a responsibility to provide pro bono legal services, and would establish in the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct an aspirational goal for a lawyer to donate 30 hours or handle 3 cases per year, and/or make a financial donation of $300 or $500 per year. The requirements are similar to the existing standard adopted by the SBM Representative Assembly in 1990, which recommends Michigan lawyers provide civil legal services to three clients, provide 30 hours of service, or contribute $300 to programs providing civil legal services to the poor. The proposal would create a professional responsibility for lawyers that would require them to provide legal services to those of limited means, but would state in the rule that the responsibility to do so is voluntary and not intended to be enforced through a disciplinary process or by any other means.
Issued: August 11, 2010
Comment Period Expires: December 1, 2010
SBM Position: Support Alternative B

Federal News
Judge-Race Funding Doubles in a Decade
(Washington Times, 8/15/10)

Former Felons Feel Boxed in by Crime Question
(Washington Times, 8/15/10)

Wrongly Convicted Man Gets $7.95 Million Settlement
(New York Times, 8/12/10)

State News
Michigan to Get Nearly $700M in Fed Aid
(Detroit News, 8/13/10)

Bill Requiring Cops to Record Interrogations Stirs Debate
(Detroit Free Press, 8/12/10)

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