U.S. Supreme Court: Fourth Amendment Ruling

Reasonable Mistake of Law Still Gives Reasonable Suspicion

This week, in an 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment is not violated when a police officer makes a traffic stop based on a reasonable but mistaken understanding that the driver is breaking a traffic law.

In Heien v. North Carolina, the High Court held that because a police officer’s mistake of law was reasonable, there was reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment. The opinion was released on Dec. 15, 2014. Continue reading

Albion Man Sentenced for Shooting His Mother

The best birthdays tend to include cake and messy parties and sometimes, depending on your idea of excitement, oddly shaped balloon animals. The worst ones, it seems, are often marked by gifts of socks and a definitive lack of cake. But David Seifert has set a whole new standard for “worst birthday ever”, by spending a portion of his 40th birthday in the Calhoun County Circuit Court, being sentenced to over forty years in prison for shooting his mother. Continue reading

Felony Charges for Frat House Hazing

Hazing. Just the mention of the word evokes a host of responses, and very few of them are positive. Horror stories abound of hazings gone wrong, victims abused and humiliated and even in certain tragic instances, killed. It is not a nice practice, and in almost every state in the U.S., also illegal.

Here in Michigan, hazing is illegal and, depending on the injuries caused to the victim, can range from a 93 day misdemeanor all the way up to a 15 year felony. But that doesn’t stop it from happening, and four students from Saginaw Valley State University have discovered there are consequences. Continue reading

Flint Teens Sentenced For Armed Robbery

Three teenagers from Flint, who were all charged as adults, are looking at potential decades in prison after pleading guilty to armed robbery and home invasion charges.

18-year-old Robert A. Murphy III and his younger brother, 16-year-old Roshawn R. Murphy, along with 18-year-old Courtney D. Hall were sentenced in the Genesee Circuit Court by Judge Richard B. Yuille. They were all given 5 to 20 years. Continue reading

Appeals Court Deflates Prisoner’s Hopes

In September of 2013, the Michigan State Corrections Department was told by U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow that one prisoner, Richard Boone II, was permitted to have an air mattress in his cell. Prison officials had taken it away from him, deeming it unnecessary and when Boone threatened to commit suicide, Judge Tarnow ordered an injunction on his behalf.

But a federal appeals court has overturned that decision, letting the air out of Mr. Boone’s hopes, as it were. Continue reading