Blog

Civil Rights Vindicated

September 4th, 2011

Against a county and deputy sheriff – fourth amendment/42 U.S.C. 1983/unlawful arrest – $7,500.00.

Against a county and deputy sheriff – fourth amendment/42 U.S.C. 1983/bad search warrant – $6,000.00.

Against a county and deputy sheriff – fourth amendment/42 U.S.C. 1983/improper use of taser – $5,000.00.

Against a public hospital – defamation – $7,500.00.

Against a public hospital and employee – invasion of privacy – $7,500.00.

Against a village and police officer – fourth amendment/42 U.S.C. 1983/false arrest – $200,000.00.

Against a city and police officer – false arrest/malicious prosecution/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $50,000.00.

Against two jail detention officers – assault/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $15,000.00.

Against a police officer and a jail detention officer – excessive force/assault/ 42 U.S.C. 1983 – $46,500.00.

Against two male police officers – excessive force (pepper spray)/false arrest/ 42 U.S.C. 1983 – $35,000.00.

Against a police officer and city – excessive force (pepper spray)/false arrest/malicious prosecution/failure to supervise/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $112,500.00

Against a police officer – unlawful search/unlawful seizure/destruction of property without due process/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $15,000.00

Against a deputy sheriff and sergeant – unlawful seizure (person)/unlawful seizure (cash)/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $7,000.00

Against a utility company and supervisor – gender discrimination in the workplace/wrongful discharge – Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act – $43,000.00

Against a school district – due process /42 U.S.C. 1983 – $51,750.00

Against a police officer and city – excessive force/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $7500

Against a detective and county – due process/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $10,000

Against a sergeant and city – false arrest/malicious prosecution/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $5,000

Against two deputies and county – excessive force(taser)/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $15,000

Against a police officer and city – excessive force/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $32,500

Against a hospital security staff – excessive force/property damage – $8,000

Against a police officer and city – excessive force/false arrest/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $15,000

Against a city and city manager – first amendment/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $15,000

Against a police officer – unlawful search & seizure of property/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $16,000

Against a sheriff – defamation, denial of due process/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $35,000 and record clearance

Against a district court and a probation secretary – false arrest/42 U.S.C. 1983 – $9,500

Against a sheriff – Freedom of Information Act violation – costs plus $155.00

Against a county mounted unit – gross negligence – $3,000

Bostic Client Acquitted on all Charges

02/12/2010 – a firm client charged with armed robbery, home invasion first degree, felonious assault, felon in possession of a firearm and felony firearm was acquitted on all charges today in Lansing. The charges stemmed from an alleged robbery of a drug house. The client testified on his own behalf and explained how he was forced at gunpoint to assist two parolees into getting into the front door. After six hours of deliberation, the jury agreed that the prosecutor’s office had not proven the credibility of its “victims,” in part, because they would not acknowledge the presence of firearms in their own bedroom. The client had spent 16 months in jail on these erroneous charges and is now back with his family.

01/05/2011 – a client accused of criminal failure to pay child support had all charges dismissed against him. A long series of rule violations by his former spouse, the friend of the court, the Department of Human Services, and the prosecutor’s office, as well as factually incorrect court rulings, erroneous income information, and violations of the client’s due process rights over a 10 period led to felony criminal charges for failing to pay support. Many hours were invested in reviewing court files and the friend of the court’s separate files. It was learned that many events occurred without notice to the client, his professional license was improperly suspended without notice to him, his multiple requests for reductions in support went totally ignored, many payments he made through an out-of-state official entity went unposted in Michigan, and Michigan officials asked out-of-state entities to not honor the client’s requests that those entities take over collection and enforcement. The most outrageous event was the refusal to grant him a hearing on the suspension of his professional license for over two years. The license was eventually restored which was followed – one year later – by a criminal charge of failing to pay support for almost the exact time frame that his professional license was suspended. The family court has completely ignored his multiple motions for relief and that issue is now in the Michigan Court of Appeals. After extensive briefing and two large volumes of documents from the court and friend of the court files were filed in the criminal case, the prosecutor’s office finally agreed to dismiss all charges.

Bostic Publishes Warning About Sentencing

In the November 26, 2009 issue of Ingham County Legal News, J. Nicholas Bostic warned criminal law practitioners about a new source of criminal history information being used by probation departments. The source is called the Judicial Data Warehouse (JDW) and it searches all of the many independent court databases in Michigan. The name “matching” process is questionable and the system does not rely on fingerprinting at all. Bostic warns practitioners that much of this information can be incorrect and lead to higher and unwarranted scores in the sentencing process.

Inconsistency or intellectual dishonesty – a query?

In Baumgartner v. Perry Public Schools, a March 12, 2015 published decision (309 Mich App 507), the Court of Appeals gave a pointed slapdown to the State Tenure Commission. The Court emphasized that the Legislature’s long-delayed policy choice to control who negotiates and controls teacher layoffs changed the power structure from the unions to the school districts. It also changed the review of the decisions from the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to the Courts. I could not help but recoil to this statement from the opinion “We reject this unseemly power grab by the STC, and by doing so, reject its practical effect of overturning major, historic public-policy changes made by the people’s representatives in the Legislature.”

Good for them but how can they possibly explain the repeated, intellectually dishonest smack-downs they give the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act on a weekly basis which was enacted BY THE PEOPLE and by a very wide margin? While I do a lot of medical marijuana litigation, I’m not an advocate of its use. My energy to litigate in this area comes from a deep respect for the law as written and a serious fear of any government that governs against the will of the people. All I ask is that your claimed “respect” for the people’s representatives apply equally to the people as well.

Sex Offender Registry Free-for-All

This post involves the mechanisms of enforcement of the sex offender registration (SOR) list. Please don’t get wrapped up in the emotion of the topic. This post addresses government run amuck and the SOR is a good example.

Client was completely compliant for years and then the new Tier system went into effect. The new law required MSP to notify all registrants of their obligations. Client went from 4 updates per year to two updates per year. The update time frames also changed from the same day each quarter to his birth month and six months later each year. He claimed that MSP’s letter said he went to annual instead of bi-annual. A few weeks after his “six month” report was not filed, the local sheriff’s office decided to prosecute him. They apparently never even checked with MSP except to look him up on the computer. Normally, these prosecutions are presented with the proper proof from MSP showing notice of the reporting obligation. Not in this case. So he is charged criminally. The defendant, of course, could not find his letter because he had moved. We asked the prosecutor to produce it but the sheriff’s office said they never requested it. We did a Freedom of Information Act request to MSP for either his specific letter or a generic letter that was used when the law changed. Mind you, the amendatory act required MSP to send notice of the new obligations to each registrant. They could not or would not produce either the letter or proof they sent it to him. Once MSP confirmed this to the prosecutor’s office, case dismissed.

Lessons from this: (1) When the legislature passes this type of law, they rarely specify the method of investigation or enforcement. It is puzzling as to why the legislature would put the burden on MSP to send the notifications and maintain the database but then allow any law enforcement agency to “investigate” an alleged failure to report. Many of these investigations are self-initiated by law enforcement because they just search the database for registrants in their area and then check to see who is out of compliance. No report, no complaint, no other basis to initiate an investigation. Just trolling so they can create arrests. All of us should insist that the legislature create clear, fair, and accountable investigation and enforcement methods when they pass new laws.
(2) No matter what government agency or individual you deal with, keep EVERYTHING and keep it handy. If you deal with them in person or on the phone, keep a log and promptly document the substance of the conversation, the time, date and location, and the government actor’s identity. Unless you have a lawyer that will push back when trouble comes, you may find yourself with another conviction and loss of your liberty.