Pandemic Closures

Back on March 11, 2020, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack issued a memo recommending adjournments to all state trial courts. This recommendation to adjourn was later extended to recommend delaying all jury trials until at least June 22, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many courts have closed to the general public, and are only partially open for specific reasons, usually requiring an appointment. Certain services such as court marriage ceremonies have remained suspended throughout the pandemic, while other services such as the city assessor require an appointment to access and file real estate paperwork. The Michigan Supreme Court has already resumed activity, participating in some of the first oral arguments via Zoom with attorneys for a handful of cases. There appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel as the two busiest courts in the city of Detroit appear to be on the path towards reopening. iStock_000013709005_Medium-300x210

Current Operations

Original Case Details

A figure who has been at the center of an alleged extortion scheme alleging public corruption has pled guilty. Dino Bucci, long known as a “bag man” for the now-indicted Macomb County Public Works commissioner Anthony Marrocco made his guilty plea in United States District Court, via videoconference in front of Judge Robert H. Cleland (the courthouse is closed due to the pandemic). Bucci pled guilty to both extortion and theft conspiracy charges. He admitted to extorting money from engineering firms and construction developers by pressuring them to buy Anthony Marrocco political fundraiser tickets. Bucci was allegedly directed by Marrocco to let these people know that if they did not purchase the tickets, they would face “economic consequences.” He also admitted to being part of another scheme, this one being a kickback scheme to steal $96,000 from Macomb Township. Bucci faces up to ten years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Federal prosecutors have indicated that they will be seeking a lesser sentence for Bucci from Judge Cleland due to Bucci’s health issues. Before he is sentenced, Bucci is required to report to the probation department for a pre-sentence interview. Here, a presentence report will be generated and submitted to Judge Cleland for Bucci’s sentencing. iStock_000009283153_Large-2-300x201

Macomb County Corruption Fallout

Judicial Vote

The Macomb County Circuit Court Judicial bench has now officially named Jean Cloud as interim Prosecutor of Macomb County. Cloud was voted in by a 14-1 vote in her favor by the Macomb County Circuit Court Judges which was conducted remotely on Zoom. She has been in the Prosecutor’s office for twenty years and had already assumed the duties within the office as now-former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith is facing public corruption charges related to misuse of public funds. Cloud will serve out the final six months of Smith’s term before the position opens back up in the general election. Cloud has stated her intentions to not seek election as Macomb County Prosecutor once this term ends. There are seven candidates running for the position that will be available this November. iStock_000025943007_XXXLarge-2-300x200

Attempt to Move Past Office Corruption

Original Case Details

A woman has been arrested in St. Clair Shores and charged with assaulting a police officer, assault and battery and refusal to submit to fingerprinting after allegedly spitting on police officers after she was told to leave a Nino Salvaggio grocery store when she refused to wear a mask. The woman is accused of assaulting a store employee when the employee told her that she needed to wear a mask or leave the store. She is also said to have behaved erratically until she was taken into custody by St. Clair Shores Police. The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office acting lead Prosecutor Jean Cloud said that even during the heightened tensions of the current pandemic, the woman’s repeated inappropriate behavior could not be tolerated, and her actions clearly demonstrated a willful disregard for the safety of everyone around her. The woman is locally known in Macomb County as she unsuccessfully ran for Roseville mayor back in 2017, losing by a wide margin to current mayor Robert Taylor. 10896969-300x201

Current Pandemic

Original Case Details

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is set to testify over her handling of Former state senator Virgil Smith’s criminal case. Smith was sentenced to ten months in the Wayne County Jail back in 2016 for a felony charge of malicious destruction of property along with admitting that he brandished a gun and fired shots at his ex-wife’s car. An initial plea deal with negotiated where the Wayne County Prosecutors Office agreed to drop three charges if Smith agreed to resign from the Senate along with agreeing to not hold elected office during his probation period, which would have been set for five years. When the negotiated plea deal went in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon, the judge removed both requirements relating Smith’s ability to hold elected office from the deal, stating that the terms were unconstitutional. Prosecutors didn’t agree with a deal that did not include resignation and no elected office so they attempted to withdraw the deal, but Judge Talon would not allow the withdrawal. Prosecutors appealed the Judge’s decision and won at the Michigan Supreme Court in 2018, where the ruling said that the judge should have allowed prosecutors to withdraw from the deal since key parts of it were removed by the judge. After the deal was successfully withdrawn, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy then offered Smith a new deal if he pled to two felonies, which included the previous malicious destruction of property charge in addition to felonious assault. Seeing as Smith had already served his jail time in 2016, and had no new charges or violations, he found this to be vindictive on Worthy’s part since Smith had a deal that included only one felony conviction previously. Smith had also unsuccessfully attempted a run for a seat on Detroit City Council after serving his jail time. criminal-justice-attorney-300x225

What Is The Current Situation?

Original Case Details

Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Cadotte was recently arraigned in the 50th District Court in Pontiac on a single charge of careless discharge of a firearm causing injury. He was charged for allegedly inadvertent shooting that occurred where he shot a pregnant 16-year-old girl in the shoulder at a traffic stop. The teen was said to have been shot in the right collarbone, and after a few days in the hospital, is now at home recovering. iStock_000068527987_Large-2-300x200

There has been some contradiction in what has been said about what happened in this case as the initial news release about this incident this past March stated that Deputy Cadotte drew his handgun and fired a shot through the front windshield of the stopped vehicle, and hit the pregnant passenger in the shoulder. The current statement says that after Deputy Cadotte positioned his car during the traffic stop, he exited the vehicle and his gun somehow discharged and the bullet struck the teen. What has been consistent is the allegation that the driver of the stopped vehicle was 15 years old and that she attempted to flee to try to avoid trouble for not having a driver’s license or the permission to use the car that she was driving. The driver took off on foot while her passenger had been wounded from Deputy Cadotte’s bullet.

Wrongful Convictions In Michigan

All 50 states across the country have experience in dealing with people being wrongfully convicted of crimes. The state of Michigan has had its fair share of exonerees that have lost many years of their lives sitting in prison for crimes they did not commit. Some of these men have spent in excess of twenty years waiting for their moment for the truth to come out as well as the freedom that comes with that truth.

One such example of these cases is the case of Davontae Sanford, a man who pled guilty to the killing of four men when he was 14 years old in 2007. Police misconduct and the confession of a professional hitman cast serious doubt on the plea from the then-teenager. Sanford spent nine years in prison appealing his wrongful convictions and was released in 2016. Sanford’s mother insisted that the teen could barely read or write back in 2007 and was also blind in one eye. His mother stated that her son only confessed to the murders to please the police officers who had been interrogating him. Grabel04a-2-300x146

Original Case Details

East Lansing Police Officer Andy Stephenson will be reinstated after the Michigan State Police have cleared him after a review of his actions during two different arrests. He was initially suspended for allegations of excessive use of force during multiple specific arrests. While he has had five separate complaints by citizens of excessive use of force since January 2018, none of these complaints have been sustained against him. Stephenson was alleged to have used excessive force on two black men in these incidents by using a “head stabilization” technique that is now up for review and retraining by the East Lansing Police Department. A city news release stated that while the technique has been deemed appropriate, it has been shown to cause harm to arrestees and should only be used in extreme circumstances. All East Lansing police officers will now be retrained on the technique with more of a focus on the arrestee and his or her physical well-being. iStock_000002709890_Large-2-300x200

The Incidents In Question

Original Case Details

Midland County Circuit Judge Stephen P. Carras recently issued a ruling upholding the life sentence of a then-juvenile convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering a 32-year-old female jogger back in June of 1983. Brian K. Granger was 17 years old and considered a juvenile when he allegedly attacked the then-mother of three in Jasper Township near Midland. He was found guilty of first-degree murder by then-judge Tyrone Gillespie back in 1984. Granger, now 54 years old, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after he was tried and convicted for the murder as an adult. With this conviction and sentence, Granger earned the title “juvenile lifer” as too many others have earned the same title. iStock_000011602905_Large-2-300x200

What Is A Juvenile Lifer?

Original Case Details

The FBI has long targeted the United Auto Workers (UAW) with an investigation that has spanned years and resulted in over a dozen federal criminal indictments and convictions. While the UAW has been on the defensive with a litany of these charges targeting them, General Motors has been thought to be a target of the FBI’s investigation as well. GM has now been given the official word from the FBI that they are not a target of their ongoing investigation. This type of notification is rarely made, as the FBI is not under any requirement to tell anyone about the status or even existence of an ongoing investigation. Fiat-Chrysler on the other hand, has been on the receiving end of multiple criminal charges as the FBI has targeted them as co-conspirators with the UAW for bribery and kickback schemes. The UAW has separately been dealing with the FBI in an effort to show that those who were involved in any corruption were acting on their own and not in concert with the UAW as an organization. iStock_000006818663_Full-1-300x200

Criminal Charges Involved

Contact Information