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Lansing Criminal Defense Law Blog

Will Lansing's new loitering ordinance reduce drug crime?

Waiting for the bus in downtown Lansing could land you in jail for 90 days under the terms of a new city ordinance intended to deal with drug trafficking.

The ordinance appears to apply specifically to the CATA Transportation Center downtown. Police say the area is the site of regular drug trafficking activity. So the Lansing City Council passed an ordinance that makes it a crime to wait for your bus in certain spots near the station.

Lansing courts receive grant to set up domestic violence court

Domestic violence is a serious issue in the U.S., including in Michigan. The law provides for serious penalties for those convicted of domestic assault. For instance, a third conviction can mean five years in prison.

Some readers may wonder why someone would commit domestic violence multiple times, even after being arrested or convicted. Some in this position are struggling with drug addiction or anger management, which limits their ability to control themselves at times.

Warrant required for cellphone searches, Supreme Court rules

The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck a blow in favor of those who believe that law enforcement is increasingly encroaching on the right to privacy in Michigan and around the country. The Court told police departments throughout the U.S. that they must obtain a search warrant before officers may look through a person’s cellphone.

The search warrant requirement is a fundamental part of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In general, it requires investigators to show a neutral magistrate, such as a judge, that probable cause exists that a search will turn up evidence of a crime, before they are allowed to actually conduct the search.

Michigan men arrested on child sex charges

A Michigan radio personality is facing charges of having sex with minors and creating child pornography, and a second man has also been arrested in the case. They were targeted by an investigation that combined federal, state and local law enforcement.

One of the arrested men, John Baylo, is a radio host on WCSG-FM, a Christian station located in Grand Rapids. He was arrested after police obtained a warrant and searched his home. The Lansing State Journal does not mention what evidence police used to obtain the search warrant.

Michigan woman acquitted of embezzling from auto body shop

When the prosecution says it has more than 100 pieces of evidence against someone charged with a white collar crime, your first reaction might be that the defendant must be guilty. But that assumes that the evidence actually proves the defendant’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors can present a mountain of documents and other evidence to the jury, but if that mountain does not establish guilt, the jury’s duty is to find the defendant not guilty.

The jury in a Michigan embezzlement trial took just two hours recently to find the former employee of an auto body shop not guilty, despite examining more than 100 exhibits presented by the prosecution. Afterward, the defendant’s attorney said that his client should never have been charged in the first place, and that the verdict showed that “the evidence wasn’t there” that the defendant had taken up to $24,000 from her employer.

Michigan State Trooper not charged for pulling gun on speeder

Dashboard cameras can help police officers gather evidence against suspects during a traffic stop. They can also vindicate the suspect when the footage disproves the officers’ claims. Cameras can also catch the police using excessive force, as happened in a recent Michigan incident.

A dashboard cam captured the scene. A Michigan State Police trooper is seen pulling a gun on an 18-year-old motorist and heard saying things to the young woman that sickened the county prosecutor. The woman was pulled over for allegedly speeding. She had heard that her home was being robbed and was apparently trying to reach the house. 

Health care fraud allegations brought against Michigan doctor

A Michigan doctor is facing criminal charges in relation to allegations of defrauding health care insurers, including Medicare.

The doctor is a neurologist and his practice is located in Kochville Township. Authorities claim that the man submitted billings to private insurers and Medicare for medical tests he didn't actually do. Authorities also allege that the man prescribed patients medication they didn't actually need. According to authorities, he had a rather large amount of billings to Medicare for the cancer pain drug Subsys.

Michigan woman back in court over 2002 sex crime conviction

People are entitled to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, there is a saying that the wheels of justice turn slowly. For one Michigan woman, the wheels have not stopped turning for 12 years.

The woman spent nine years in prison after being convicted in 2002 of committing sex crimes against her adopted son. She later was freed on bond after her son recanted his claims, but that did not end the case. The court did not dismiss the charges against her, but ordered a new trial and allowed her to be free while the case continued to wind its way through the courts.

Drug conviction thrown out after court finds no probable cause

Due process rights matter. Legal violations that some call “technicalities” are the law for a reason. Police officers who are eager to make an arrest may violate a suspect’s rights. Without rules that restrict most evidence allowed at trial to that which was obtained legally, innocent people could go to jail or prison.

A Michigan man has won his appeal of a drug conviction based on a 2012 traffic stop in another state. The appellate court ruled that police did not have probable cause to pull over the suspect’s vehicle, so evidence seized during the stop was “fruit of the poisonous tree” -- that is, inadmissible in court.

Michigan funeral home director accused of embezzling escrow funds

There are professions in Michigan that involve holding customers’ money for them, perhaps for years. When clients’ money is being held in escrow, certain laws govern how that money must be taken care of, and when it can be transferred into the business’ name. When a business or individual is accused of violating those laws, white-collar criminal charges could result.

For example, the owner of a Michigan funeral home is facing felony charges and accusations that he embezzled money collected for prepaid funerals. If convicted, the 68-year-old defendant could face up to 35 years in prison.

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