Michigan Supreme Court

DETROIT, MI (AP)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic has reached the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Justices heard hours of arguments Wednesday about whether Whitmer has illegally made far-reaching decisions without input from the Legislature. Whitmer, a Democrat, has repeatedly ordered virus-related restrictions under a 1945 law that grants power to declare emergencies when public safety is at risk.

DETROIT, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Supreme Court says local governments can't keep surplus cash from the sale of tax-foreclosed properties. 

It's a sweeping decision that could lead to waves of payments to former owners. State law allowed county treasurers to keep money left over after overdue taxes finally are paid from a property sale. The Supreme Court said the practice is illegal under the Michigan Constitution.

The case centered on two sales in Oakland County. In one deal, a man owed $6,000 in back taxes, but the county also kept a $76,000 surplus from the land sale.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Allowing witnesses in criminal trials to testify remotely violates the Michigan and US constitutions – unless the defense agrees. 

That decision came Monday from the Michigan Supreme Court.

It was a 6-0 decision. The court said remote testimony can violate a defendant’s right to confront witnesses. 

Marquette County Prosecutor Matthew Wiese is the president-elect of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan. He says the decision creates problems for courts. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan’s courts will likely face a surge in eviction cases if a moratorium is lifted at the end of the month; however, the state Supreme Court is planning ways to help avert people being turned out of their homes for failure to pay rent. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered the eviction moratorium in mid-March as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Before then, courts processed about 17,000 eviction cases every month.

LANSING, MI, March 15, 2020 – With a unanimous vote, the Michigan Supreme Court is authorizing trial courts to implement emergency measures in order to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus to provide the greatest protection possible to those who work and have business in Michigan’s courts.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether a law that makes it more difficult for petition drives to qualify for the ballot is constitutional. 

The lawsuit challenges an official opinion from state Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat. The opinion addresses a law that sets new standards for petition drives to succeed. One of the rules says no more than 15 percent of the signatures can come from one congressional district.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   The Michigan Supreme Court says the public can bring laptops, tablets and phones into local courthouses. 

The court announced the groundbreaking policy change Wednesday. The new rule covers the use of electronic devices in courtrooms and clerk's offices, where public documents are stored. The public can bring electronic devices into courtrooms to take notes, use the internet or exchange email and text messages. Photos or video, however, are prohibited unless approved by a judge.

LANSING, MI (AP)--   Court clerks around Michigan are criticizing a proposal to allow phones and other electronic devices in courthouses.

Among their objections: They fear they’ll lose money.

The Michigan Supreme Court is holding a public hearing Wednesday in Lansing.

Courts typically charge people to make copies of public documents. Someone with an electronic device could do it for free. For example, Mason County charges $1 per page. Clerk Cheryl Kelly says the proposed rule “would put a dent in our revenue.”

DETROIT (AP) — A lawyer is warning that local governments in Michigan could face a financial calamity if forced to repay surplus cash from the sale of tax-foreclosed properties. The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over a law that allows treasurers to keep any surplus after overdue property taxes are paid from a property sale. Christina Martin, an attorney for two people in Oakland County, calls it "stealing." But John Bursch, arguing for Oakland County, says lawmakers can always change the law.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Gretchen Whitmer is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to reinstate her emergency ban on the sale of flavored vaping products in Michigan.  

A motion asks the state Supreme Court to bypass lower courts and immediately consider the case. The Whitmer administration’s filing says the matter is urgent because of the risk to public health – it says candy- and popcorn-flavored vaping products are attractive to young consumers who could easily become hooked on nicotine.