MI Supreme Court Protects Parents’ Rights

Each Parent Must Be Found Unfit Before Children Can Be RemovedParents have a fundamental constitutional right to care for their children, but for 70 years, Michigan has allowed courts to take one parent’s children away because of the behavior of the other parent. But on June 2, 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court put an end to the practice by ruling the “One Parent Doctrine” unconstitutional. Read the full post »

Supreme Court Says Chemical Assault Isn’t a Federal Case

Federal Ban on Chemical Weapons Doesn't Apply to Domestic AssaultsIn 2006, Carol Bond made a bad decision. She used a chemical designed for developing photographs to literally burn her husband’s lover. She spread the chemical on door knobs, car door handles, and mail boxes to make the lover develop a rash. There is no question that what she did was illegal, but did it violate a federal ban on chemical weapons? Read the full post »

Why Isn’t Child Maltreatment Taken More Seriously?

Why isn't child abuse a factor in custody?Child custody in Michigan is decided based on 12 Best Interest Factors. These factors cover everything from love and affection to physical health of the parents, to domestic violence. But none of the factors explicitly address abuse or neglect of the children. If a judge is trying to decide what is in the child’s best interest, shouldn’t the child’s treatment be at the center of that discussion? Read the full post »

Is Surrogacy Legal in Michigan?

Is Surrogacy Legal in Michigan?You and your spouse want to have a child, but you are unable to carry a child to term. You have explored your options and have found that there is no way for your wife to bear the pregnancy. What do you do? Is there another legal option? Read the full post »

Parents Count As Victims for Criminal Sentencing

Victims' Parents Get a Say at SentencingOnly certain people have a say in your sentence during a criminal case: the judge, the prosecutor, the probation department, your attorney, the victim, and now the victim’s parents. The Michigan Legislature recently passed a bill that will allow the parents of a victim to complete a “victim impact statement” if the actual victim is a child or mentally or emotionally unable to participate him or herself. But could this soon-to-be-law result in stricter punishments to please pushy parents? Read the full post »

Michigan Marriage Equality Heads to Appeals Court

Gay Marriage Goes Before Court of AppealsMichigan’s road to Marriage Equality has been bumpy. A full trial, a brief window of legal marriages, and an appellate stay together with a governor who says the marriages were legal but not recognized have put the LGBT community in Michigan into quite a pickle. But despite the potholes along the way, the road goes on, this time to the Court of Appeals. Read the full post »

What Every Student Needs To Know About Preventing Sexual Violence

public schools need students' help to prevent sexual violence

Students have a right to be protected from sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence in school and out. But for the schools to do their job under federal law, they need to hear from the victims and witnesses of sexual violence. If you or someone you know has been involved in one of these situations, here are X things you need to know: Read the full post »

Running For Office Before She Can Vote?

Saira Blair, Image Source https://www.facebook.com/ElectBlair

Voters in Charleston, West Virginia, are going to have an interesting choice on their ballots: 17-year-old Saira Blair. Ms. Blair recently won the GOP primary for the 59th District of the House of Delegates, a district that has been predicted to swing conservative in November. But can she run for office before she can vote? Read the full post »

Michigan Court Overturns Truancy Based on Bullying

Bullying As a Defense to Truancy?In a rare published juvenile appeals case, a Michigan Court of Appeals struck down an adjudication (like a criminal conviction for children) for truancy because the student’s absences were the result of bullying. The opinion told juvenile court referees and school administrators that they have to take this kind of thing seriously. Read the full post »

Supreme Court Upholds Municipal Prayer Policy

Will there be prayer at your government's next meeting?In a recent decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that local government meetings could be opened with prayer as long as that prayer did not coerce participation or denigrate other religions. Advocates of the prayers cited history, but opponents worry that the ruling has opened the door to Christian-only prayers across the nation. Read the full post »