Archive for the ‘Attorney/Lawyer’ Category

Mummified Man Found in Chair in Jackson Home – WLNS TV 6 Lansing – Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Mummified Man Found in Chair in Jackson Home – WLNS TV 6 Lansing – Jackson | Your Local News Leader.

The man’s girlfriend may be facing potential criminal charges from the Jackson County’s Prosecutor’s Office associated with this incident. Allegedly, the girlfriend admitted that she had known the man was dead and had allegedly admitted to covering up the body. According to the Medical Examiner, the man died of natural causes approximately Christmas 2010.

People v. Vaughan – Michigan Supreme Court – Sixth Amendment Right to Public Trial

In an opinion filed Friday, July 9, 2012, the Michigan Supreme Court denied a criminal defendant’s appeal that his right to a public trial, a right afforded to all criminal defendants pursuant to the United States and Michigan Constitutions, was violated when a Wayne County Circuit Court judge ordered the public out of the courtroom during jury selection. The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice Young, reasoned that Vaughn had forfeited his right to a public trial, as he did not assert that right or object at the trial court level. The Michigan Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Michigan Court of Appeals, but disagreed with the reasoning, holding that while Vaughan forfeited his constitutionally protected right to a public trial, Vaughn was not automatically foreclosed from appellate review. The Supreme Court majority held that Vaughn was not entitled to a new trial because he was unable to demonstrate that his forfeited claim of error “seriously affected the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings.”

What does this mean for Michigan criminal defendants? The majority opinion makes it clear that a criminal defendant needs an effective advocate at the trial court level. It is essential that a criminal defendant is represented by a knowledgable and aggressive criminal defense lawyer who can ascertain whether his/her client’s rights are being affected. If a situation is presented that contradicts with those constitutionally protected rights, the criminal defense lawyer must place an objection on the record to preserve the issue for a possible appeal. If the attorney fails to do that, Vaughn is simply one more case of the hundreds that illustrate the point that failure to object at the trial court level may result in forfeiture of an otherwise constitutionally protected right.

A link to the full text of the opinion can be found here.

If you are charged with a crime in Michigan, contact Attorney Nick Leydorf for a free initial phone consultation by calling (517) 388-6800.

Judge Loses it During Divorce Proceeding

West Virginia Judge tells husband during divorce proceeding to “shut up” during a divorce hearing. Some of the audio is distorted due to the Judge yelling into the microphone.

Categories: Attorney/Lawyer

Numerous Procedural Issues Discovered in Michigan State Police Crime Labs

July 6, 2012 1 comment

Following inspection of the Michigan State Police’s seven crime labs numerous procedural issues related to incomplete record keeping and improper storage of chemicals were discovered. The Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division has until the end of July 2012 to fix more than 100 “corrective action requests.” The accredation of the Michigan State Police crime labs are at stake, as they have been told that they will receive no further extensions.

In light of these findings, Michigan criminal defense attorneys have been given reason to further question and challenge the labs’ findings.

You can read more from the Detroit News article here.

People v Nicholson – Court of Appeals Attempts to Clarify Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

Earlier this week, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in People v. Nicholson that a Michigan medical marihuana patient may be immune from prosecution even if they did not have the registry card in their possession at the time of the arrest.  The Court held that if the patient has been issued a registry identification card issued prior to the arrest, then they are immune from prosecution unless there is evidence to show that the patient’s possession of marijuana was not in accordance with the provisions of the MMMA.

Specifically in Nicholson, the patient was in possession of an amount of marijuana permitted by the MMMA, had applied for but had not received his registry card and did not have his application materials in his possession. Nicholson was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Nicholson had submitted a valid application, but had not received his registry identification card. According to Section 9(b) of the MMMA, Nicholson’s application was legally enough to qualify as a valid registry identification card as the department had failed to issue a registry identification card in response to his application within 20 days of its submission.

What is interesting about the decision is the differentiation between immunity from arrest and immunity from prosecution or penalty. The Court’s holding makes it clear that a patient must keep their registry identification card on them at all times in order to be immune from arrest. However, even if the patient doesn’t have their registry card in their possession at the time of the arrest, they may still be able to immunity from prosecution, so long as they had a valid registry card at the time of the arrest. In addition, even if an individual is unregistered and does not have a registry card, they may attempt to assert the affirmative defense in Section 8 of the MMMA in order to defeat prosecution.

What does all this mean? The MMMA is not that clear and requires careful planning and study in order for a patient or caregiver to operate within its parameters. In my experience thus far with the MMMA, lawyers are often as confused as the clients who have hired them. In order to proactively attempt to avoid the stress of being arrested or to defend you in a drug crime prosecution you should consult with an attorney who understands and stays up to date with the MMMA and the recent court decisions interpreting it.

If you have been charged with a drug crime such as possession of marijuana or possession with intent to deliver, please contact me at (517) 388-6800 for a free initial phone consultation. Let me discuss your legal rights with you and determine how I can best help you defend those rights. My office is located in Lansing, Michigan, however, I have represented clients in over 50 counties across Michigan, including Ingham, Eaton, Isabella, Clinton and Gratiot Counties.

Criminal Law in the Wireless Age: WiFi and Theft

February 16, 2011 3 comments

Last Saturday morning, I went to go get coffee and noticed that my local coffee house and noticed on the door that they provide free Wifi. After I purchased the delicious coffee treats for my wife and I, I went out to my car and pulled out my laptop to see if it worked. I selected the free wireless network that was provided and began searching whether anyone had ever been charged with “stealing” Wifi in Michigan or anywhere else. Don’t ask me why I searched for that – just chalk it up to how a criminal defense attorney’s mind works.

What I found was surprising; yes, someone had been charged with with accessing someone else’s network without authorization, commonly referred to as “piggybacking.” In Michigan, this is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.00. I was completely shocked when I read this. Is a felony really necessary to punish this conduct? The officer that arrested the Michigan admitted that he didn’t arrest the man after he questioned him because he didn’t know whether or not a crime had been committed and stated that he didn’t believe that the defendant knew he was committing a crime when he accessed the network. The store owner didn’t know that it was a crime. The Kent County Prosecuting Attorney that prosecuted the seemed hesitant to issue the authorize the warrant.

In my opinion, it’s time for a reality check. It is a legal cliche that “ignorance of the law is no defense.” However, as legislatures enact more and more laws, it is ridiculous to assume and expect the public to read all of the laws that are enacted and amended each year. New York has a similar statute, however requires that in order to sustain a conviction for “piggybacking,” the prosecutor is required to prove that the owner of the network put the public on notice that unauthorized use of the network was prohibited.

However, until Michigan’s Legislature amends this statute, individuals can be charged with a felony for unauthorized use of WiFi.


If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges or is the subject of an investigation regarding larceny, shoplifting, burglary or any other crime, contact Michigan Criminal Lawyer Nicholas A. Leydorf for a free and confidential consultation at (517) 388-6800. We represent clients throughout Michigan, including Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Lansing.


POLL – Why does the public have a negative opinion of lawyers?

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment