Putting together a will is an important part of end-of-life planning, but it can also be a little intimidating.  Most people choose to hire an attorney to draft the will, and in many cases, that’s the right decision.  Others, however, want the security of a will but don’t need anything complex.  For those people, I

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One of this term’s most anticipated Supreme Court decisions is now available: Matal v Tam (formerly Lee v Tam, before Ms. Lee left the trademark office). In short, the Court decided that the government cannot refuse the registry of trademarks merely because they may be offensive. In long, read on! The Facts Despite all the

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The Saturday before the 3rd Sunday in June is what I like to call Not-The-Father’s Day, a day to honor those men who had a dangerously close brush with parenthood. For this year’s celebrations, I’ll be explaining a bit how paternity law works in Michigan and what you should do if you believe you are

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In Michigan, as in most states, criminal convictions usually stay with you all the way to the grave. These convictions have two major lasting effects: they look bad to landlords and to employers. Thus, many people want to remove the convictions from their records. In Michigan, this process is called “expungement.” What happens to expunged

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Often in movies and TV, you’ll hear phrases like “the victim is not pressing charges.” As a result, there is a common misconception in our culture that the victim (especially of assault or domestic violence) chooses whether the suspect gets charged with a crime. This is not true. The party bringing the charges is not

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the possible upcoming reforms to the criminal justice system in Michigan.  Governor Snyder has made his decision with respect to the package of legislation.  You can read his own explanation here. In short, he signed all the bills I was optimistic about.  Two bills received vetoes: SB 11, which would

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One of the first steps in the criminal legal process is the arraignment. An arraignment hearing is the first court hearing the defendant attends. The judge explains the charges and then asks the defendant how they want to plead: guilty or not guilty. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the defendant pleads not guilty at

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Governor Snyder has a rare opportunity in the American political system: he could enact meaningful criminal justice reform. As a criminal defense attorney, this is the best news since Obama’s guidance against private prisons (recently revoked by the Trump administration). This Detroit Free Press article does a good job of summing up the bills, but

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Two US Supreme Court decisions on criminal law this week. Pena-Rodriguez v Colorado: Ruling (legalese): When a juror in a criminal trial relies on racial bias to convict a defendant, the no-impeachment rule does not shield the jury’s verdict from reconsideration on Sixth Amendment grounds. Ruling (real words): The Sixth Amendment grants criminal defendants the

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This week, the Supreme Court chose not to hear Reed v Louisiana, a case about whether the death penalty is constitutional under the 8th Amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment. In doing so, it left the lower court’s ruling in place, meaning that for now, capital punishment remains legal. Capital punishment is just about as old

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