Public Policy Resource Center


 

The Public Policy Resource Center is a member resource and tool designed to provide comprehensive, up-to-date public policy information of interest to the legal profession. The site provides a search function that permits you to view all legislation organized by specialty area as it is introduced, identify the appropriate official to contact to communicate your views, and keep track of the public policy initiatives of the State Bar and its entities.

The Board of Commissioners met on January 18, 2019 at which time the State Bar of Michigan adopted the following public policy positions:

ADM File No. 2017-27: Proposed Amendment of MCR 6.425
The proposed amendment of MCR 6.425 would make the rule consistent that requests for counsel must be filed within 42 days, as opposed to simply “made” or “completed and returned.” It would also remove the requirement for a sentencing judge to articulate substantial and compelling reasons to deviate from the guidelines range, pursuant to People v. Lockridge, 498 Mich 358; 870 NW2d 502 (2015).
SBM Position: Support with several amendments: Keep the “filed with the court” language proposed by the court; incorporate the prisoner mailbox rule into this rule; explicitly provide the defendant with the opportunity to file the request at sentencing; and delete the “substantial and compelling” from 6.425(E)(1)(e).

Proposed Amendment to MCR 5.117
The proposed amendment to MCR 5.117 would clarify that limited scope representation is allowed in probate proceedings and civil proceedings pending in probate court.
SBM Position: Support.

M Crim JI 3.11
The Committee proposes amending Paragraph (6) of M Crim JI 3.11, the Composite Instruction that explains the deliberative process to the jury.  The amendment attempts to clarify the instruction, to reduce the court’s housekeeping obligations to provide the names of different offenses that a jury may be considering, and to make it easier for judges to read. Deletions are in strike-through, and new language is underlined.
SBM Position: Support.

M Crim JI 3.29, 3.30, and 3.31
The Committee proposes amending M Crim JI 3.29, 3.30, and 3.31, the jury verdict forms used for multiple counts with and without insanity defenses and lesser offenses, because the current forms fail to provide a general “not guilty” option for each charged count. See People v. Wade, 283 Mich App 462 (2009). Deletions are in strike-through, and new language is underlined.
SBM Position: Support with two amendments: the addition of “Guilty of the Lesser Offense of:” under 3.30 “Count 1”; and the addition of Not Guilty” on the verdict form of cases where insanity defenses used.

M Crim JI 7.25
The Committee proposes a new instruction, M Crim JI 7.25, for use where a defendant interposes a self-defense claim to a felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm charge as permitted under People v. Dupree, 486 Mich 693 (2010).
SBM Position: Support.

M Crim 11.38 and 11.38a
The Committee proposes amending M Crim JI 11.38 and 11.38a, the instructions for felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm charges to comport with the felony-firearm instruction, M Crim JI 11.34, by requiring that the possession of the firearm be “knowing,” and to otherwise clarify the instructions. Deletions are in strike-through, and new language is underlined. (As the Use Notes to the instructions are lengthy and are irrelevant to the amendments, they are not published below and the superscript Use Note numbers in the instructions are not included.)
SBM Position: Support with an amendment inserting “previously” after “had” in 11.38(2) and 11.38a(2) to allow for better clarity in the jury instruction.

M Crim JI 14.2a
The Committee proposes a new instruction, M Crim JI 14.2a, where perjury is charged under MCL 750.423(2) – false declarations made under penalty of perjury (including in electronic media). The instruction is entirely new.
SBM Position: Support.

M Crim JI 15.18
The Committee proposes amending M Crim JI 15.18 and eliminating 15.19, the instructions for charges involving moving violations causing death or serious impairment of a body function under MCL 257.601d. The amendment follows the decision in People v. Czuprynski, a published Court of Appeals opinion (No. 336883), finding M Crim JI 15.19 in error for failing to require proof that a moving violation was the cause of the serious impairment of a body function. The proposal combines the elements for both instructions in M Crim JI 15.18. Deletions are in strike-through, and new language is underlined.
SBM Position: Support.

M Crim JI 20.38c
The Committee proposes amending M Crim JI 20.38c, the instruction for possessing or accessing child sexually abusive activity, to clarify that it applies when the defendant possesses or accesses child sexually abusive material for viewing it himself or herself. Deletions are in strike-through, and new language is underlined.
SBM Position: Support with the following amendment: (2) First, that the defendant [possessed child sexually abusive material / intentionally sought and viewed looked for child sexually abusive material and intentionally caused to view it, or to cause it to be sent to or seen by another person].

M Crim JI 27.1 and 27.5
The Committee proposes amending M Crim JI 27.1, the jury instruction for embezzlement charged under MCL 750.174, and M Crim JI 27.5, the jury instruction for embezzlement charged under MCL 750.177 or 750.178 to accommodate statutory changes and clarify the instructions. Deletions are in strike-through, and new language is underlined.
SBM Position: Support.

M Crim JI 33.1, 33.1a, 33.1b, 33.1c, 33.1d, 33.1e, 33.1f, and 33.1g
The Committee proposes new instructions for crimes charged under MCL 750.49, pertaining to using animals for fighting or targets (or providing facilities for doing so or breeding such animals, etc.): M Crim JI 33.1, 33.1a, 33.1b, 33.1c, 33.1d, 33.1e, 33.1f, and 33.1g. These instructions are entirely new.
SBM Position: Support.

Public Policy & the State Bar

Because the State Bar of Michigan is a mandatory bar association, the Bar can only advocate public policy positions that are reasonably related to:

  1. the regulation and discipline of attorneys;

  2. the improvement of the functioning of the courts;

  3. the availability of legal services to society;

  4. the regulation of attorney trust accounts; and

  5. the regulation of the legal profession, including the education, the ethics, the competency, and the integrity of the profession.

Sections of the State Bar that are funded by voluntary dues are not subject to these restrictions, and may engage in ideological activities on their own behalf provided that they follow the policies and procedures in Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order 2004-01 and in Article VIII of the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan.

Administrative Order 2004-01 limits and describes the issues on which the State Bar may take public policy positions, and the process for section and member involvement.

Article VIII of the Bylaws of the State Bar of Michigan governs public policy advocacy by sections and committees of the State Bar.

Member Comments

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Searchable Positions Database

The searchable database includes all positions taken by the State Bar and positions reported to the State Bar by its sections and committees. Users are able to search the database by legislative session, bill number, bill sponsor, State Bar positions, section positions, committee positions, or practice area.

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