Open-carry Gun Lawsuit against Flint Township Police. Was man improperly jailed on Christmas Eve?

March 31, 2014 Leave a comment

This past Christmas Eve, the Flint Township Police Department arrested 21 year old John McMorris for allegedly carrying a concealed pistol without a permit. Ultimately McMorris was released without being charged for any crime; however, after spending the entirety of his Christmas in jail, the Flint man has filed a lawsuit against the Flint Township Police Department.

John McMorris was walking to the store on Christmas Eve when a police cruiser stopped him along the side of the road. Responding to the flashing lights, McMorris raised his hands and turned to ensure that the .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol holstered on the outside of his clothing was made visible to the officer. The officer ultimately arrested McMorris, claiming that 15 minutes earlier he had seen McMorris walking with the weapon concealed under his coat. 24 hours later, McMorris was released and no charges were filed.

McMorris has elected to file a lawsuit against the Flint Township Police Department. He is currently seeking more than $25,000 in actual and punitive damages for civil rights violations, false arrest and malicious prosecution. The lawsuit is now pending in the Detroit U.S. District Court, trial is anticipated to begin in 2014.

The in-car camera footage captured from the officer’s vehicle is embedded at the end of this post. The footage raises a lot of questions; for example, if the gun was concealed, why did the officer stop McMorris in the first place? Was the officer unfair, or did the scent of alcohol on McMorris’ breath justify his arrest?


What do you think about this story? Watch the footage and decide for yourself.

Make sure to stay tuned to Michigan Criminal Attorney’s Blog for an update on this story. Also if you haven’t already, make sure to check out some of our other posts:



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Probation Violation Puts Chris Brown Behind Bars

March 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Chris Brown is behind bars…again. The R&B singer was dismissed from his Malibu Rehab Facility mid March for “for failure to comply with rules and regulations of the program.” Browns request to enter another rehab program was swiftly denied by the Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge. Instead, he will be remaining in Jail until his formal violation hearing on April 23.

In 2009 Brown was sentenced to 5 years probation, community labor and violence counseling after pleading guilty to charges of felony assault. Over the last year Brown’s probation has been revoked two times, and in the past 5 months the singer has been dismissed from two rehab programs.

In November 2013, Brown was sentenced to a 90-day treatment program for allegedly breaking the nose of a man while in Washington D.C. Brown was abruptly dismissed from the program after tossing a rock through his mothers car window. As punishment, a judge allowed Brown to evade jail by entering into an anger management and drug rehab facility. Brown’s latest escapade seems to have been the final straw.

Before his formal violation hearing on April 23, Brown must complete the trial for his November assault charges. The judge’s decision on the 23rd will be greatly impacted by this trial’s outcome. If convicted of assault, Brown will likely finish his probation sentence in jail.

In Michigan, simple assault and battery is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and fines up to $500. However, felony assault is punishable by up to four years in prison and incurs very heavy fines.

If you have been charged with any type of assault in Michigan, don’t wait to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Depending on the details of your case, the right criminal attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed. You will need an attorney who thoroughly understands the law, effectively presents any defenses you might be able to raise, and fights for your constitutional rights. We have fought and won assault, battery, and other violent crimes across Michigan. At the Leydorf Law Firm, we pride ourselves on being honest with our clients, responding promptly to their inquiries and concerns, and vigorously defending their interests. 

Contact Lansing criminal defense attorney Nicholas Leydorf at any time by calling (517) 388-6800 or emailing


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Michigan Texting and Driving Law and Google Glass Technology

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment



Wearable technology has begun trending and has taken over as the new must have item. Amongst these new products, Google Glass is especially exciting for consumers as it functions as a head mounted Android computer. Don’t be fooled by its appearance, Google Glass may look like a pair of glasses; however, this gadget is equipped with a optical head mounted display and voice recognition technology that enables the user to take photos, use Google, lookup directions, etc without ever looking down at their smartphone or even using their hands.

            If you are fortunate enough to already own this product, or if you are planning on purchasing Google Glass in the future, there are some things you should probably consider before opening up your wallet.

            Despite the fact that Google Glass is not yet available for sale to the everyday consumer, concerns regarding the products safety have already emerged. During this past October, a driver was ticketed in California for wearing her Google Glasses while operating a motor vehicle. According to California’s Vehicle Code, drivers are forbidden to operate their vehicle while distracted by a video device. More specifically, California implements a Television Screen and Monitor Law that deems in unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle in which there is a television receiver or video monitor visible to the driver while they are driving. Based on these laws, it certainly seems appropriate that this driver was ticketed for wearing her Google Glasses while driving.

            If you live in Michigan and are considering purchasing Google Glass in the future, you may now be wondering if you too will be ticketed for using Google Glass while driving.

            As most Michiganders are now well aware, Michigan State Law has deemed texting while driving to be a civil infraction. “Reading, typing, or sending text messages on a wireless 2-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or…lap… while operating a motor vehicle that is moving on a highways or street”[1] in Michigan is prohibited. On the first offense, drivers caught texting and driving are fined $100; however, all subsequent offenses result in a $200 fine. Wireless 2 way devices that are affixed to the motor vehicle and are utilized strictly for global positioning and/or navigation are, however, permitted for use in the state of Michigan.[2] Based on this law, it would seem that Michigan drivers would still be permitted to drive while wearing Google Glass. Reading or composing a text is clearly prohibited, but Google Glass has many functions outside of texting. Additionally, Google Glass doesn’t involve hand use, nor would it ever be utilized while in a person’s lap. While it seems as though drivers would be protected under this law, there is a less known law in Michigan that reveals that that is not the case.

            According to another section of Michigan’s Vehicle Code, “ A person shall not operate a motor vehicle… with a television or other similar electronic device that displays a video image that can be viewed by the operator while the motor vehicle is in motion”.[3] This law does not apply to vehicle or navigation systems that are built into the vehicle’s dashboard and are used strictly for displaying vehicle information, location, directions and/or weather/traffic conditions.  In other words, television/electronic devises that are used solely for these aforementioned purposes are permitted for use while driving, but electronic devises with additional features/capabilities cannot be in a person’s visual plane while operating a motor vehicle.

            For those wondering whether or not they should wear their Google Glasses while driving in Michigan, I think it is evident that the answer is no. Google Glass is an electronic device that displays a video image directly before the eyes of the person using them. While Google Glass can function as a navigation system, this gadget has many additional capabilities that are not permitted by Michigan’s Vehicle Code. Based upon these findings, Michiganders should not feel entitled to operate their motor vehicles while wearing their Google Glasses. If you are pulled over while wearing Google Glass, you will probably receive a civil infraction and be subject to a fine of $100 on the first offense, and $200 any time there after.

            Remember, distracted driving is the leading factor in most crashes[4]! Drivers should avoid all non-driving activities that direct their attention away from the road. Any distraction that leads you to take your eyes off of the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off of driving must be avoided. If you are in a traffic accident and it is determined that distracted driving was the cause of the accident, you may be charged with careless driving. In Michigan, drivers charged with careless driving can have 3 points added to their driving records. If you are considering taking your chances and driving while using Google Glass or any other distracting device, think again! A $100 to $200 fine may not be enough to dissuade you, but if for some reason you wind up being charged with careless driving, the added points on your driving record will end up costing you much more.

[1] Michigan Vehicle Code Sec. 257.602B

[2] Michigan Vehicle Code Sec 257.602B

[3] Michigan Vehicle Code Sec 257.708B

[4] National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Hope you all had a safe and relaxing holiday! Yesterday, Nick assisted a client by expunging a 12 year old criminal conviction. A great start to the new year!

January 3, 2014 Leave a comment

via The Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC

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Criminal charges dismissed this afternoon = one happy client walking out the courthouse doors with me.

October 14, 2013 Leave a comment

via The Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC

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Did the math the other day and I’ve represented clients in 62 of Michigan’s 83 counties!

October 3, 2013 1 comment

via The Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC

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Prep this weekend for Tuesday trial in Bad Axe.

August 10, 2013 Leave a comment

via The Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC

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Felony charges dismissed this morning – no trial next week!

via The Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC

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Medical Marijuana and Impaired Driving – Problems with Enforcement

As more and more states jump on the bandwagon legalizing marijuana and/or medical marijuana use, legislators are now addressing a new concern, an increase in driving while impaired by marijuana.

While Arizona implements a zero tolerance policy, making any level of marijuana in the blood illegal, Colorado’s law offers more flexibility.

Colorado has recently passed new legislation that places the legal threshold for marijuana at 5 nanograms per milliliter. Under this law, defendants are permitted to present evidence proving that they were not too impaired to drive despite a THC level exceeding the statutory threshold.

While proponents of the law emphasize the importance of this standard when legally prosecuting cases involving marijuana impaired driving, many feel that the threshold is to low.

With the legal limit for alcohol being .08, it logically follows that a similar limit should exist for marijuana. That being said, even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acknowledges that detecting impairment caused by marijuana is not as simple as it is with alcohol. The NHTSA is currently studying the effects that marijuana consumption has on drivers; they are expected to return their results by the end of 2014.

In the meantime, a news station in Washington has conducted an interesting experiment to measure marijuana’s effect on driving.

KIRO 7 News constructed a driving course outfitted with a marijuana-smoking lab, police officials, and driving instructor.

Three volunteers were required to smoke 3/8ths of a gram of marijuana and then instructed to complete a driving course. Accompanying the volunteers, an instructor observed the volunteers’ driving ability and reported whether they were safe enough to be on the road.

In all three cases, drivers were reported as driving fine when their blood level of THC well exceeded Colorado’s legal threshold of 5 nanograms. One participant for example, was reported as driving fine behind the wheel when their blood content was 26 nanograms (that’s 5 times the legal threshold). This being said, as the volunteers’ consumed more and more marijuana they did eventually become too impaired to safely drive on the road.

While there is much research to be done on the subject, it seems evident that the future holds much contention among legislators regarding marijuana’s driving threshold.


Landmark Ruling for Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients

This past Tuesday, in a landmark ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeals decision in the case of People v. Rodney Koon.

The court’s decision resolves what had been a contentious legal issue regarding whether Michigan medical marijuana patients could be convicted with operating a motor vehicle by simply having the presence of marijuana in their system. 

In 2010, Rodney Koon was pulled over for driving 83 mph in a 55 mph zone. Prior to being arrested, Koon disclosed to the officer that he possessed a medical marijuana registry card and admitted to the use of marijuana 4 hours earlier. When a blood test revealed that there was active THC in his system, Mr. Koon was charged with violating MCL 257.625(8), which prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle with any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance in the body. In Michigan, marijuana is a schedule 1 controlled substance.

While Michigan’s “zero tolerance” policy regarding schedule 1 controlled substances prohibits all drivers from having any presence of marijuana in their system, the state’s medical marijuana law shields registered patients from prosecution for the internal possession of marijuana. Koon contended that because he had the right to internally possess marijuana, he should be permitted to continue his everyday activities, so long as he wasn’t violating any other laws.

Originally charged in the 86th District Court, it was ruled that Koon’s registration under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) protected him from being prosecuted under MCL 257.625(8).  Affirming the district court’s decision, the Grand- Traverse Circuit Court also determined that the MMMA superseded the zero-tolerance provision of MCL 257.625(8). The prosecution later appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, who reversed the lower court rulings. Interpreting “under the influence” as a state pertaining to a person with any amount of marijuana in their body, the Court of Appeals noted that even the MMMA prohibited Medical Marijuana patients from driving while under the influence of marijuana.

Michigan v. Rodney Koon finally landed before the Michigan’s Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, Michigan’s highest court ruled that the immunity from prosecution provided by the MMMA to a registered patient who operates a vehicle with the presence of marijuana in his or her system but otherwise isn’t under the “influence of marijuana” conflicts with Michigan’s OWI statute.  What this means is that a medical marijuana patient may still be convicted of violating MCL 257.625(8), provided that the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the patient was operating “under the influence” of marijuana. Simply discovering the presence of marijuana in a patient’s system will no longer be a prima facie case of a MCL 256.625(8) violation. 

If you have been charged with OWI in Michigan involving marijuana, alcohol or any other controlled substance and you are in need of an honest and
hard-working defense attorney to represent you, contact The Leydorf Law Firm at any time by calling
(517) 388-6800.



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