On March 18, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order No 2020-2. The order will limit activities and assemblages in courthouses across the state of Michigan. To gain insight on how this will affect criminal law cases across our state, we sat down with three of the top criminal lawyers in Michigan.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates. Grabel’s firm is known as the top criminal defense team in the state of Michigan and has a strong presence in the federal court system. When asked about the Administrative Order, Grabel said, “This is a time when safety will come first. The order speaks of video technology that will be out in place to preserve the constitutional rights of defendants in these situations. The tug of war will be which trials will go first when our state becomes more stable. Governor Whitmer has her hands full right now with protecting our state, and trials are not the priority, but for those that are incarcerated, the issue becomes far more complex. We all need to work together to find solutions.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo has one of the largest criminal dockets in the state and covers more than ten counties. When asked about the new order, Amadeo stated, “We need consistency, and I’m glad that our Supreme Court is taking the initiative, but we still need more. We can’t have one set of schedules in Macomb County, a different set in Washtenaw and a third in Wayne. For lawyers that are going to trial in multiple counties, we all need to be on the same page, and I would hope that prosecutors and defense lawyers could work as a team during these trying times. We are in the unchartered territory; teamwork is essential if we are to be stable again.”
Joe Brugnoli is a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates and one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Kent County, Michigan. When asked for insight in the administrative order, Brugnoli said, “We are in dangerous times. My prior career in law enforcement has helped to educate some of my clients and try to counsel them during this time of crisis. The order is giving guidance to our circuit and district courts, but as of right now, there is still inconsistency. Certain courts are still having docket calls, while others are pushing everything back. We have a great criminal justice system, and I’m sure we will get back on track, but it will take a while for things to stabilize. I’m glad that the Michigan Supreme Court is taking steps in the right direction, but much more is needed.”
The immediate future of the Michigan criminal justice system is uncertain. The Michigan Supreme Court is taking steps to fix this uncertainty. The next three weeks may determine the next three years in our district and circuit courts.